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Guerrilla attacks against Russian interests in Belarus are increasing

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Belarusian guerrillas have been attacking Russian targets in Belarus and their country’s railroads to stop Russian troops and supplies from reaching Ukraine.

During the Russian buildup before the invasion of Ukraine, a Belarusian collective called Cyber Partisans began hacking into the automated systems of the railroads disrupting their scheduling.

Attacks intensified less than a week after the Russian invasion began. Outside Minsk and in other locations railroad control cabinets were burnt down and by late July there had been 80 incidents of sabotage against Belarusian railroads.

Further, late last month, The Association of Security Forces of Belarus (BYPOL), a Belarusian guerrilla group, used two drones to seriously damage a Russian A-50 surveillance aircraft parked at the Machulishchy Air Base near Minsk.

Belarusian President Lukashenko said that the damage to the aircraft was superficial but that it was sent to Russia for repairs. 

Related: Sabotage targets: A saboteur’s guide to targeting an invading force

BYPOL is a guerrilla group composed of former Belarusian military and intelligence professionals.

“Belarusians will not allow the Russians to freely use our territory for the war with Ukraine, and we want to force them to leave,” said Anton, a member of BYPOL and a retired military official to the Associated Press. 

“The Russians must understand on whose side the Belarusians are actually fighting,” he added.

According to the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank, 90% of Belarusians don’t want their country to enter the war on Ukraine.

BYPOL leader Aliaksandr Azarau said that his group will do everything in its power to remove Lukashenko from power and force the Russians to leave Belarus. Lukashenko has been the country’s president since 1994. His sixth election in 2020 was widely disputed in the country and resulted in protests that were cracked down by the government.

BYPOL membership is growing and the group is in close contact with the team of Belarus’s exiled opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Belarus’ government is concerned with the number of BYPOL supporters and is enacting harsh measures on anyone it believes is supporting the guerrilla movement. 

Feature Image: Military personnel and various participating units. Rehearsal for the Rostov-on-Don Victory Day Parade. Rostov-on-Don, Russia, 2014. (Photo by Vyacheslav Argenberg/Wikimedia Commons)

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Steve Balestrieri