“Dear Friends,

Thank you for inviting me to speak at the Kyiv Security Forum at such an important moment in the history of Ukraine and relations between our nations. It is an honor and great responsibility for me.

First of all, let me congratulate the Ukrainian people on the anniversary of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, when Ukrainians expressed their desire to get out of Soviet occupation and restore their independence. In my country, the word “occupation” is not used about Soviet history because Lukashenka feels completely Soviet-era. However, our nations do not have a better word. Belarusians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Georgians, Moldovans, and other nations neighboring Russia were all effectively denied the right of self-determination.

We must stay honest as we look back on the past. What we had in our Soviet past cannot be called a Union. It was a prison of nations. Millions of freedom-loving Belarusians and Ukrainians died from NKVD bullets. Tens of millions passed through the Gulag.

The Holodomor killed nearly 5 million Ukrainians, a famine unimaginable in the most fertile of lands. On the anniversary of the Holodomor tragedy, the United Transitional Cabinet for the first time in history, on behalf of the people of Belarus, announced its condemnation of this crime of communism and recognized it as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Today, the masters of this prison are once again trying to subjugate our nations. The independence of our countries is once again under great threat. We know the value of sovereignty. We know the value of freedom and must be prepared to defend it.

I want to express my deep respect for the Ukrainian people for the way you are defending yours. I admire the courage and bravery of everyone, from Armed Forces soldiers to elderly women baking pies for them. I admire the unity of the people and the government at this critical moment. And I am convinced that the Ukrainian people will defeat this imperial monster.

The position of democratic Belarus remains clear and unchanged. We stand for the independence and unrestricted sovereignty of Ukraine. We stand for the territorial integrity of Ukraine within the borders of 1991. This means that both Crimea and Donbas are Ukrainian, that any vote under the control of the occupants and the withdrawal of Russian troops is illegal, and that Russian troops must be withdrawn.

You know, I recently read the news and saw videos from liberated Kherson. I saw how the people greeting the Ukrainian military picked up the flags they had hidden from the occupiers. It was this story that touched me deeply. And every time I see a Ukrainian flag on someone’s balcony in different countries, I see a symbol of the sacrifice of the Ukrainian people, your courage, and desire for freedom.

This story also reminded me of how hundreds of thousands of Belarusians keep our national flags under the couch or in the garage. How they hide Belarusian literature and embroidered shirts. How they keep their love of their homeland, culture, and people from the Lukashenko regime. For Belarusians, this illegal regime is the same as the occupiers.

Dear Ukrainians,

I cannot imagine your pain when missiles destroy your homes and kill your children. But I understand your anger when these missiles are launched from the territory of Belarus. I and the Belarusian people are ashamed that our home is being used as a launchpad for attacking the Ukrainian people, with whom we have gone through so much together and whom we see as friends. All those responsible for these crimes against Ukraine must be brought before a tribunal.

Lukashenka was Putin’s accomplice from the beginning of the aggression on February 24. He betrayed the Ukrainian and the Belarusian people when he invited the occupiers into our home. The dictator continues to drag Belarusians into this war. For nine months now, our country’s territory, its civil and military infrastructure have been serving Russia’s criminal imperial ambitions.

It is no accident that Lukashenka is involved in the war against Ukraine. A free, democratic, European Ukraine is a threat to both the regime in Minsk and Putin. That is why the two dictators have united to start this war and destroy free Ukraine. We must admit: Lukashenka is an enemy of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state. The criminal must not remain unnoticed. He is an accomplice to aggression and war crimes and must be held accountable.

Belarusians understand what is going on. Despite massive propaganda, 86% of Belarusians oppose our army’s participation in Russian aggression. Despite a crackdown that Belarus has not known since Stalin, thousands of Belarusians are risking their freedom to support Ukraine.

Since the war started, Belarusians have started a number of diverse initiatives in support of Ukraine:

(a) the anti-war movement in Belarus and donations by the Belarusian diaspora around the world to the Armed Forces of Ukraine;

b) volunteers who help war refugees in the European Union and displaced people in Ukraine, dismantle bombed-out buildings, and help Ukrainians in the liberated territories;

c) rail partisans and cyber partisans, who at the beginning of the war carried out dozens of sabotage acts to prevent the advance of Russian troops into Ukraine. Those attacks forged the occupation authorities in Belarus to use considerable resources at protecting every Russian echelon;

d) the unique Hajun Project, which makes public the aggressor’s actions in Belarus. Tens of thousands of Belarusians share facts and analysis with this channel;

e) finally, the Kastus Kalinouski Regiment and other Belarusian volunteer fighters in Ukraine, who from the first day of the war have been fighting against the aggressor as part of the Armed Forces.

I am proud of every compatriot who overcomes fear, mobilizes, and continues to resist. I want to emphasize that all these are grassroots initiatives. This is how Belarusians express their solidarity with Ukraine and support for it. They do not need to be pushed or encouraged to do it.

Meanwhile, the political structures of democratic Belarus daily remind foreign partners — national governments, international organizations, experts, and the media — that Ukraine is fighting in this war for the entire free world, and therefore everyone must support the Ukrainian people. We collect aid for fighters and do as much as we can to support all public initiatives.

In our conversations with Ukrainian politicians, diplomats, experts, and journalists, everyone agrees that Belarus under the control of the imperialist Kremlin will be a threat to free Ukraine. Therefore, it is clear that Ukraine is interested in a democratic Belarus. If Belarus is not free from two dictators, Ukraine will remain under the threat of imperialist revanchism. Only a democratic Belarus can give security guarantees to Ukraine.

It was Lukashenka’s involvement that made this act of aggression possible. If Russia had not gained access to Kyiv from the territory of Belarus, this war would not have started at all or would have been very different. So the withdrawal of Belarus from the war will be the factor that will make it impossible for Russia to continue.

This is why we must stand together against aggressive dictators. We have already been cooperating a lot with the Ukrainian authorities to solve practical issues: exchanging information, coordinating actions to combat propaganda, and solving the issues faced by the Belarusians who remained in Ukraine after the war began.

I am convinced that together the government of Ukraine and democratic Belarus can achieve more through cooperation, coordination, and the pooling of resources. We have established the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus as the major executive body, whose main task today is to protect the independence of our country and restore its sovereignty.

Moreover, our cooperation on today’s agenda should develop into a full-fledged partnership after the victory over the two dictatorial regimes. The future relations between Belarus and Ukraine will not be limited to trade and investments, but will also cover regional security, international politics, and defense.

The empire must be destroyed. We must ruin this prison, together.

And every day I become more and more convinced that soon Ukraine and Belarus will have another day of independence. Because our peoples have no other way but the way to freedom.

Glory to Ukraine!

Long Live Belarus!”

Source: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya