Why are Ukrainian citizens being detained in Belarus?

Law enforcement officers in Belarus / Sample photo by Euroradio
Law enforcement officers in Belarus / Sample photo by Euroradio

"This is a hunt for Ukrainians," said Aliaksey Lyavonchyk, co-founder of the ByHelp and BySol foundations, commenting on the detention of Ukrainian citizens in Belarus to Euroradio.

"I expected that Ukrainian citizens would be arrested. After all, the Belarusian regime is a co-participant in this war. I expected that Ukrainians would be arrested after the explosion in Machulishchy: explosion means war and Ukraine. Maybe the regime just needs hostages to negotiate with Ukraine. It used to negotiate with the West, now it will negotiate with Ukraine, because it sees that there is an exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine. That is, Belarusians who fought on the side of Russia can be exchanged."

According to Lyavonchyk, those detained in Belarus today should be called prisoners of war:

"I personally had this opinion about our political prisoners. To use the terms 'arrest', 'trial', 'verdict' is simply to humiliate the sanctity of legal systems in normal countries. But here it is an additional tool of pressure on society or trade with foreigners".

The other day it emerged that a young Ukrainian was arrested in Kobryn. The 23-year-old Artem Makovey had been living in our country since 2009. It happened because the boy's father died that year and his mother was hospitalized for a year with a fractured spine. The 9-year-old Artem was sent to his relatives in Kobryn, where he finished school and stayed. He had a residence permit. Recently, the boy had been working as a DJ and traveling to give concerts in Belarus.

At the end of January, Artem was summoned to the Migration Service, ostensibly for a lie detector test. On January 27, he was detained, and it later emerged that the Ukrainian was taken to Brest, where he was held in custody.

In a recent interview, Ukrainian Ambassador Igor Kizim said that seven Ukrainians had been detained in Belarus on suspicion of espionage. The diplomat admitted that it's very difficult to get access to them: "Relatives and we are trying to get to them somehow. But when the KGB takes them, they don't even let the consul in, and they appoint their own lawyer, who doesn't say anything.

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