Belarusian Border Guard Abandons Post to Fight With Ukraine: Report

One of Belarus' border guards reportedly abandoned his post and crossed into Ukraine to join the country in its ongoing military resistance to Russia's invasion.

Andriy Demchenko, a spokesman for the State Border Service of Ukraine, told the Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda that the agency recently detained a man who had crossed Belarus' shared border with Ukraine illegally and without the proper documents. He identified himself as a Belarusian border guard who had been serving in the city of Brest's border group.

"He noted that he decided to commit the violation in order to join the defense forces of Ukraine in the war against the Russian aggressor," Demchenko said of the man who identified himself as a Belarusian border guard. "The man also said that he had like-minded people regarding the need to confront Russia. A Belarusian border guard went to Ukraine with one of them, but on the way to the border they were discovered and chased with fire, so only he was able to cross the state border."

The Ukrainska Pravda report, which was published Wednesday, did not provide additional details on the man, including his name, age or the exact date he purportedly crossed the border. Radio Free Europe reported that the man was detained on June 29 and sentenced in a Ukrainian court to two days of arrest.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is a top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and one of the few global figures to stand with the longtime Russian leader amid his war in Ukraine, but there have been recent indications that he and some Belarusian military officers want to avoid direct involvement in the conflict. The Institute for the Study of War said in its July 11 assessment that Lukashenko is likely backing his Russian counterpart by continuing to allow Russian forces to enter Belarus' airspace to "demonstrate at least nominal support to Russian President Vladimir Putin without risking direct military involvement" in the war.

In an open letter that was reported by London's Daily Express, which Newsweek was not able to independently verify, senior Belarusian officers allegedly argued that sending troops into Ukraine would be "pure suicide."

Belarus Guard Joins Ukraine Fight
One of Belarus' border guards reportedly abandoned his post and crossed into Ukraine to join the country in its fighting against Russia. Above, a Ukrainian serviceman on the front line south of the Kharkiv region on Monday. Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

As for the Belarusian border guard who crossed into Ukraine, Demchenko said his agency was working to verify the information he provided, after which it will determine what to do with him. The State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus said Tuesday in a Telegram post that no border guards had crossed into Ukraine and that there were no incidents with border guards, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

"Extremist sources spread false information about the alleged detention of a Belarusian border guard on the territory of Ukraine," an English translation of the post read.

"All Belarusian border guards are at their duty stations and carry out tasks to protect the state border," it added.

Newsweek was unable to independently verify Ukrainska Pravda's report. The State Border Service of Ukraine and Belarus' Foreign Ministry were contacted for comment and more information.