The units are being set up by ByPol, an organisation of former security officials who defected from Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in 2020, Poland’s kresy24.pl website reported on Wednesday.
ByPol members deserted Lukashenko's Belarus when he ordered a bloody crackdown on protesters following his disputed 2020 re-election as president, kresy24.pl said.
Now ByPol aims to set up paramilitary “patriotic units” among Poland’s Belarusian community to prepare countrymen to return to Belarus “when they are needed there,” the Polish website reported, citing the svoboda.org website.
The plan was announced by ByPol’s chief Alyaksandr Azarau, a member of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s opposition United Interim Cabinet, according to kresy24.pl.
Dubbed Chorągwie (banners; an old name for cavalry units), the groups will initially be formed in Poland’s capital Warsaw, the northern port city of Gdańsk, the historic southern city of Kraków and the northeastern regional centre of Białystok, to help members develop skills in sports, shooting, martial arts and “other specialties,” according to kresy24.pl.
Azarau said: “The Banners are associations of Belarusians, who can come together and feel their strength. It’s a meeting of like-minded people.”
He added that “in just three days” after the plan to set up the "Banners" was announced, “800 people signed up to join them.”
Tsikhanouskaya’s interim Cabinet in exile
Tsikhanouskaya’s United Interim Cabinet is based in Lithuania, kresy24.pl reported.
The Belarusian opposition leader recently announced that “several active-duty law-enforcement officers,” have joined her government-in-exile, according to kresy24.pl.
On Sunday, Tsikhanouskaya and her interim Cabinet arrived on a visit to Poland. On Tuesday, the Belarusian opposition leader introduced the members of her government to Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński, kresy24.pl reported.
Tsikhanouskaya also outlined her Cabinet’s “Plan for Victory,” the Polish website said.
Source: kresy24.pl, osw.waw.pl