Fact check: Mykhailo Podolyak’s words about Tsikhanouskaya and Belarusians do not correspond to reality

10 mins

На русском языке: Фактчек: Слова Михаила Подоляка о Тихановской и беларусах не соответствуют действительности
На беларускай мове: Фактчэк: Словы Міхаіла Падаляка пра Ціханаўскую і беларусаў не адпавядаюць рэчаіснасці

The publication Zerkalo interviewed Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is responsible for information policy. In this interview, among other things, journalists asked a number of questions regarding the cooperation with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

When answering the question «Why didn’t Zelenskyy meet with Tsikhanouskaya before the war? Does this meeting make sense now?», Mykhailo Podolyak said, «We didn’t really understand Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s position on a number of issues concerning Russia. Even during the election campaign, we heard quite strange statements, which, to put it mildly, were the same as the statements of the official Minsk, and in some aspects were even more pro-Russian.»

❌ This is not true. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s statements could never be called pro-Russian, they have always been pro-Belarusian, unlike the words and actions of Lukashenka, and here are examples:

20.02.2022 (before the beginning of the war). Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Office demanded for an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Belarus.

05.10.2021. Tsikhanouskaya said that most Belarusians no more have nostalgia for the USSR, and relations with Russia should be the same as with other countries.

01.04.2021. Tsikhanouskaya stated in the interview that Crimea is Ukrainian, and she is ready to repeat it in Kyiv.

26.11.2020. When commenting on the regime’s agreements with the Kremlin, she said that Belarus’ independence and sovereignty can’t be negotiable.

— Podolyak: «We don’t hear intelligible assessments of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.»

❌ And these words are also not true. Tsikhanouskaya has repeatedly condemned the Russian invasion and supported Ukraine.

06:21, 24.02.2022. Tsikhanouskaya was one of the first to condemn Russia for starting the war in Ukraine and to express her support for the Ukrainian people.

09.05.2022. Tsikhanouskaya: «Putin and Lukashenka dragged Belarus into war, in which Russia will be defeated.»

24.05.2022. During a speech in the Lithuanian Seimas: «Lukashenka and Putin dragged Belarus into war, hoping for a blitzkrieg in 3-4 days, but they failed thanks to the courage of the Ukrainian people.»

— Podolyak: «We don’t see certain actions against the participation of Belarus in this war. For example, pickets at the Belarusian embassies organized all over the world . This is not a complaint, this is a choice. I don’t really understand what actions she takes, not even for Ukraine, but to define that Belarus had no right to participate in this war to such an extent.»

27.02.2022. Tsikhanouskaya called on Belarusians to protest against the war.

02.03.2022. Tsikhanouskaya declared anti-war mobilization.

17.03.2022. At the UN, Tsikhanouskaya called for Lukashenka to be brought to a tribunal in connection with the events in Ukraine.

— Podolyak: «It’s not enough to call for, you have to do. Go to the embassy and say, «Please, stop using the territory of Belarus to attack Ukraine.» There are many ways and techniques. You know, you have to talk less and do more concrete actions. That’s always the deficit. Well, you called for, okay. What’s next?.»

Anti-war protests were held near Belarusian embassies in different cities: Warsaw, Berlin, Bialystok, London, Tel Aviv, Vilnius, and thousands of rallies on squares and streets of hundreds of cities around the world. And more:

— Belarusians were laying flowers to the Ukrainian Embassy in Minsk;

A protest against the war in Minsk;

— Partisans set a relay cabinet on fire to slow the movement of trains with equipment, and fire was opened on them;

— Cyber Partisans conducted an attack on the computer network of the Belarusian Railways;

— After being arrested, Belarusian rail partisans, who offered no resistance, were purposefully shot in their knees;

— The Washington Post published an article about Belarusian rail partisans;

— Thousands of Belarusians daily report information about movements of military vehicles, which is then published by the Belarusian Hajun Project;

— The Center of Belarusian Solidarity has been helping Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw with housing and clothes since the beginning of the war;

— Many of us went to Ukraine as volunteers.

We could continue, the list is huge. But for you, all this appears to be «not concrete actions».

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