Statement of the BNYC “RADA” in connection with missile attacks on the territory of Ukraine
We, the union of thirty four democratic youth organizations of Belarus, being created to consolidate youth organizations and initiatives of Belarus for representation, promotion, and defending common interests, exercising the right to freedoms of association and other constitutional rights, represented by the Governing Body – the Board of “RADA,” make the following statement:
On Sunday, October 9, Vladimir Putin declared the Crimean Bridge explosion a terrorist attack and blamed the Ukrainian special services. The following day, explosions were heard throughout Ukraine, from Lviv to Kyiv, as Russian troops struck the center of the capital with rockets.
Alexander Lukashenko officially expressed support for the military actions. He agreed to deploy a joint regional grouping of troops, explaining his decision by the aggravation on the western borders of the Union States.
RADA once again affirms its position on the unacceptability of Russian military aggression on the territory of Ukraine and Belarus’ participation in it. Belarusian youth civil society does not recognize any decisions made by the regime and reminds of the importance of separating the two groups and the radical difference in shared values. Thus, we again note that the Lukashenko regime is illegitimate and has no authority to make such decisions on behalf of Belarusian society.
We also call attention to the fact that Belarusian youth do not support the war and the Lukashenko regime but are in a vulnerable situation, without the right to express their opinions and freedom of association and under constant threat of repression from the authoritarian government. We recall that there are currently 1348 political prisoners in Belarus, more than 800 of whom are young people. We also remind that Belarususes the death penalty – the sentence with the highest form of punishment may be imposed, also for attempted acts of terrorism.
We once again express our overwhelming support to our colleagues and friends from the Ukrainian National Youth Council (NYCU) and its member organizations, and all Ukrainian people. We are reiterating the fact that young people are at particular risk during wars and armed confrontations. We stand in solidarity with all people in the region who are part of civil society and work for peace, human rights, and democracy.
In this regard, we:
- Call upon political representatives of the neighboring states to provide support to young people in Belarus who oppose the war and are trying to evade mobilization by facilitating their departure from Belarus;
- Renew our demands to the political stakeholders to avoid equating Belarusian civil society with the illegitimate ruling regime;
- Urge representatives of Belarusian democratic forces to actively represent the position of the Belarusian people concerning Belarus’ participation in the war and to contribute to mitigating the growing movement of discrimination against Belarusians;
- Call upon the Russian authorities to immediately stop the military aggression on the entire territory of Ukraine;
- Call on the European Youth Forum, its Member Organisations, and European youth to express complete solidarity with Ukraine and the National Youth Council of Ukraine.