Alexander Lukashenko has ordered security services “to launch procedures to prevent the escape of further potential ‘traitors’ from the country,” according to the independent Belarusian outlet Nasha Niva, Poland’s interia.pl website reported on Wednesday.
Senior spy officer flees to EU
Lukashenko’s move came after a senior KGB officer, in the rank of captain, fled Belarus in late September, independent media in Belarus reported.
The officer had served in the KGB’s special-forces unit named Alpha and was helped in his escape by members of the anti-Lukashenko underground, interia.pl said, quoting Nasha Niva.
Lukashenko 'terrified of betrayal'
Meanwhile, Belarusian opposition politician Franak Viacorka said in a tweet that the officer had escaped to the European Union.
Viacorka wrote on Tuesday: “A high-ranking Belarusian KGB officer escaped to the European Union. The regime fears that he might become an essential source of information.”
The opposition politician added: “The security services immediately began a campaign to discredit him. Lukashenka is terrified of betrayal and holds a massive internal purge.”
The Belarusian regime has not confirmed the officer’s escape, according to interia.pl.
A spokesperson for the Belarusian KGB has told reporters that the man in question is a former officer of the security agency, dismissed in August due to his involvement in “fraud.”
The KGB press official added that the officer had “illegally earned USD 30,000 from the practice” and “an investigation is to be launched into the matter,” interia.pl reported.
The defector’s name has not been made public so far. According to local media, the counter-terrorism services of one of Belarus’ neighbours have also taken an interest in the individual.
Defector played role in Lukashenko’s 2020 crackdown?
Meanwhile, Poland’s state Belarusian-language broadcaster Belsat TV reported that the KGB officer may have taken part in Lukashenko’s brutal crackdown on protesters against his disputed reelection in the capital Minsk in August 2020.
The defector may have contributed to the death of at least one unarmed demonstrator, Belsat TV said.
The Belarusian KGB’s Alpha counter-terrorism unit, in which the defector served, dates back to the Soviet era. The group has been put on “quarantine” and has had its work suspended, interia.pl reported.