Western allies take note: If you want to beat Putin in Ukraine, target Lukashenko in Belarus

Western allies take note: If you want to beat Putin in Ukraine, target Lukashenko in Belarus

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya writes:

Last week, residents of Machulishchy were intrigued as soldiers and police swarmed across their small town on the edge of Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

Cordons and checkpoints were hastily erected for miles around the local airbase, which has played host to Russia’s forces during its abominable war against Ukraine.

It was clear to anyone out and about on that frosty winter morning that Belarusian security services – known as the KGB – were panicking. The Belarusian people, who are disgusted at their government’s support for the Kremlin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, had struck a symbolic blow right at the heart of Russia’s military.

Our anti-war partisans had flown two drones over the former Soviet airbase and dropped bombs on an A-50U surveillance aircraft, a £275m Russian spy plane used to pinpoint targets inside Ukraine. The Beriev A-50, which uses a long-range radar detection system to track up to 60 targets at a time, was severely damaged.

Unfortunately for the Belarusian KGB, the heroic resistance fighters who made a mockery of Russian military might managed to escape the checkpoints. They are now safely outside the country.

Doubtless Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’s tyrannical dictator and solitary Kremlin ally, would have had an uncomfortable discussion when he next took a phone call from Vladimir Putin. Lukashenko will be particularly nervous as he owes his position to the Russian president. I beat him in the general election of 2020, before he stole it back with the help of the secret police and Putin. The Russian president sent propagandists, financial support and, eventually, tanks in a bid to prop up his old Soviet ally – then forced him to pay his debts by enlisting support for the catastrophic invasion of Ukraine 18 months later.

The vast majority of my people are horrified at what is happening in Ukraine. The attack on the Russian spy plane is not the first example of resistance. Cyber-partisans have performed a series of audacious hacks on Belarusian state databases. Resistance fighters have blown up transport networks in an attempt to constrict the supply of Russian arms into Ukraine. And hundreds of Belarusians have enlisted to fight the Russian aggressor on Ukrainian territory itself. [Continue reading…]

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