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Coup Preparations Announced Against Putin’s Top Ally in Europe

Reuters/Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov
Reuters/Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov

A shadow group of anti-government operatives are planning to stage a coup against Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, the group’s leader revealed in an interview this week.

“We have worked out a plan and will put it into effect at the right time,” Aliaksandr Azarau, the head of the resistance group known as BYPOL, revealed in an interview with Belgian broadcaster VRT on Wednesday.

Azarau did not divulge many details about what a coup may look like, but recent sabotage operations in Belarus could offer clues.

The revelation comes as Belarusian opposition groups have been working on sabotaging Russia’s increasing influence on Lukashenko, who has inextricably intertwined his regime with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s.

Last year, when a Russian A-50 military surveillance was attacked in Belarus, Belarusian opposition claimed responsibility, warning Moscow that more sabotage was coming if Putin continued to use Belarus as a staging ground for war in Ukraine, as previously reported by The Daily Beast.

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The BYPOL group has also trained members of the Kalinowski Regiment, which joined Ukrainian fighters in their effort to thwart Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. And early on in the war, Belarusian saboteurs hacked and disrupted railway operations, leaving Russia’s logistics in chaos in the early days of the invasion. As they see it, working to secure the defeat of Russia in Ukraine would help hasten the end of Putin’s regime, therefore sucking the air of out Lukashenko’s.

“Without Putin, there is no Lukashenko,” Azarau said. “If Ukraine can launch a successful offensive, Putin will no longer have time for Belarus.”

Azarau was previously a member of the Belarusian opposition government’s cabinet, in charge of law and order. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the democratically elected leader of Belarus, removed him from that role last year, urging him instead to coordinate the underground movement and the so-called “Victory Plan,” or the “Pieramoha Plan,” which is aimed at civil disobedience throughout Belarus.

The opposition, which is in exile, has urged saboteurs and dissidents to be prepared to act when the time is right for years. They have largely urged nonviolent resistance, including sabotage, hacking, espionage, and other internal turmoil.

Azarau said that 200,000 people have registered to help establish barricades, traffic jams, or large crowds to stage resistance against Lukashenko’s regime when needed. He added that five thousand citizens have said they would be willing to participate in “special operations” or sabotage.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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