A year has passed since Russia began its attack on Ukraine. The courageous Ukrainian people fought back with dignity against the aggressor, but lost thousands of lives in the process. This continues even now, with worthy daughters and sons of Ukraine dying every minute, defending their common home.
It is shameful, but real that Belarusians are now associated not only with the warriors of the K. Kalinouski Regiment or partisans, but also as co-aggressors. Because of the shameful position of the Belarusian dictator, we are now seen - as a military springboard from which Russian troops broke in and bombarded the civilian population.
It should be noted that from the first day of the war, the democratic trade unions spoke out strongly against the actions of the Belarusian authorities and demanded that Russia stop assisting in the war and withdraw Russian troops from the territory of Belarus.
On 25 February 2022, the Executive Committee of the Association of Trade Unions "Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions" adopted the following Statement:
"There is no nation in the world that wants war. The Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples are no exception. Few people in the world have suffered such terrible losses, so sacrificed the lives of tens of millions of their citizens in their history, as our three close-knit nations. And the fact that the Russian authorities started a war against Ukraine today defies comprehension, justification or forgiveness. Nor can it be justified or forgiven that the aggressor, with the consent of the Belarusian authorities, invaded Ukraine from the territory of Belarus.
Wrong actions in the past and their consequences continue to have a toxic effect on relations between Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians for generations. On behalf of the friends of independent trade unions in Belarus and workers in our country, we bow our heads to you, our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. We ask your forgiveness for the shameful situation, the shame which the Belarusian government has imposed on all Belarusians by becoming a lackey of the aggressor and by opening to him the border with Ukraine.
But we want to assure you, dear Ukrainians, that the overwhelming majority of Belarusians, including workers, condemn the adventure of the current Belarusian regime, which supports the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
We demand the immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, as well as from Belarus.
At this difficult, fateful moment we declare that our hearts and thoughts are with you, dear Ukrainians. We wish you to endure and to win.
Long live Belarus!
Glory to Ukraine!"
These words could not be forgiven by the dictatorial regime, so the entire leadership of the democratic trade unions was arrested and the independent trade unions were liquidated. A regime of mass terror was introduced in the country: thousands of dissidents were arrested. 1,450 of them were recognised as political prisoners. Torture and violence on the part of law enforcement agencies towards citizens became the norm. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee the country.
Despite this we are convinced that for the overwhelming majority of Belarusian citizens this war is shameful and they are waiting for peace. Not the "Russian peace" - hatred, poverty and despotism, but a world of mutual understanding, dignity and prosperity.
As was said by arrested BKDP leader Aliaksandr Yarashuk, who is now in prison in Belarus:
- Who else but us, it falls to us to do everything to regain our good name. So that Belarus is never considered a military aggressor. So that our areas, the name of our country, the names of our villages and towns would not be associated with a threat and danger for the residents of the neighbouring, brotherly Ukraine. From where death comes to them.
These words were spoken a year ago, but they are still relevant today.