Russian rion police dispersed 2020 protests in Belarus, ex-fighter claims

Maksim Zyaziulchyk / SBU
Maksim Zyaziulchyk / SBU

According to an ex-fighter of the Special Forces of Belarus Maksim Zyaziulchyik, Russian rion police took part in the dispersal of rallies and protest marches in 2020. He said it in an interview on the channel of blogger Vladimir Zolkin. Maksim fought in Ukraine as part of the Russian PMC "Redut" and was captured last September. In addition to his participation in the war, Zyaziulchyk was asked about the events of 2020 in Belarus - in particular, who dispersed the rallies.

"It was the Ministry of Defense, that is, disguised soldiers, it was the Belarusian riot police and the Russian riot police," Zyaziulchyk said. When asked how the Russians got to Belarus (Minsk did not ask for Russia's help), Zyaziulchyk said: "Well, they came. They were in the uniform of the Belarusian riot police." Zyaziulchyk also said that "if you look closely at the video of the August events, they even differ in their boots". According to him, the Russian riot police was tougher, used grenades - flash and gas grenades - and beat people badly.  Zyaziulchyk said the same thing in his first interview on Zolkin's channel about a year ago, when he had just been captured.

"The Russian riot police came to beat our people. Putin needed to keep Belarus as a buffer zone, to prevent a change of power, to strengthen his position, and he sent his riot police to help. They wore our uniform," Zyaziulchyk said a year ago.

In January this year, the Ukrainian court sentenced 22-year-old Zyaziulchyk to 10 years in prison under the article on mercenarism. In the war he remained less than two months. He was offered to join the Russian PMC by the deputy commander of his Belarusian unit. 

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