135 criminal cases opened against Belarusians fighting in Ukraine

135 criminal cases have been opened against Belarusians who ‘may pose a military threat to the state’, Mikalai Karpyankou, Head of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, told newspaper Zvyazda.

Mikalai Karpyankou

“It is crucial we prevent foreign militants, mercenaries, radical Muslims, members of military operations in Ukraine and the Middle East from entering Belarus. We make situation reports on Belarusian militants who used to fight in Ukraine and are returning home now. All this is done to keep the people who might be a military threat to the state under control.”

The Interior Ministry has never reported the total number of cases initiated against Belarusians members of the armed conflict in Ukraine before.

In January 2016, state-run TV channel Belarus 1 reported with reference to the Interior Ministry that more than 130 Belarusians ‘had taken part or were participating’ in the fighting in Ukraine.

In December 2015, Valery Vakulchyk, the head of the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) said that criminal laws were amended to bring ‘combatants’ to trial, even in case they have never been mercenaries.