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Exiled Belarusian opposition calls for army to rise against Moscow

(Photo by GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

With Vladimir Putin facing armed insurrection from Prigozhin’s Wagner Group, the exiled opposition in Belarus has called for its military to assert independence from Russia. Valery Sakhashchyk, Opposition defence spokesman, has released a video where he addressed his countrymen and the 38th Airborne Brigade, which he once commanded and is regarded as still loyal to him. His video (and my translation) are below:

‘All thinking people understood that the Russian Federation was built on lies, corruption and lawlessness and that it will fall apart sooner or later. We are witnessing the beginning of the active phase of this process. We do not know for sure what will happen tomorrow. Perhaps Prigozhin will win, mobilise half of the population of Russia then use them as cannon fodder, throwing them into Ukraine. Or maybe he’ll realise that he has no chance in Ukraine and turn his forces to Belarus, in order to score political points.

The Pro-Russian path that [Belarusian PM Alexander] Lukashenko has been leading the country for all these years has led us to a dead end. We are standing on the road right now. In front of us is a lowered barrier and a dead-end sign. We have to decide what to do next – and decide quickly. Because either we will use this historical chance and become a prosperous European country – or we will lose everything and the very name of the Republic of Belarus will remain only in books.

I want to address first of all the Belarusian military. We have no one to rely on, but if we are united, we can definitely cope with this. We are one of the best nations in the world. We will have time to ask each other questions and complain later on. But for now, let’s unite the nation. Let’s save our country: everything else later.

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