“Belarus! My native Mother! I swear to liberate and protect you! Where I stay now and where the fate of Your liberation will lead me! To fight for Your freedom until victory. In the same way that our ancestors fought against the horde oppression of the Muscovites. Near Orsha, Smolensk, Polonka…”. These are the words from the oath of the Belarusian volunteer fighters.
Recently, in the space of the “Ukraine – Crucifixion” exhibition, there was not quite an ordinary group of tourists, but a group of men in uniform, without taking off their balaclavas, who confessed their love for their native land – Belarus, which is currently under double occupation. “There is the only idea: we want free Belarus. And we understand that it is impossible to do this without free Ukraine”, the commander of the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment Denis Prokhorov said. Looking at the dismantled Soviet coat of arms, the Belarusian defenders of Ukraine were sure that this was a historical moment and it is inevitable for free Belarus.
Among the foreigners who have been fighting on the side of Ukraine against russia since February 2022, the Belarusians have formed a large unit – this is the regiment named after Kastuś Kalinoŭski. Its fighters entered the battle in the Kyiv region, and during the period of the Great War, they fought in practically all areas of the front, including the outskirts of Bakhmut.
On March 4, 2022, the Belarusian volunteer Ilya "Litvin" (Khrenov) died in the fight for Bucha. Ilya was originally from Minsk, in 2014 he came to fight for Ukraine, took part in all known operations – in Ilovaisk, Mariinka, Shyrokyne. Then he became an instructor of Azov. On the day of the full-scale invasion, he recorded a video calling on Belarusians to join the defense of Ukraine. His brothers donated to the Museum Ilya’s belongings – burnt, charred, those that were on him in the last fight.
Remembrance of defenders is one of our institution’s missions. The fighters from the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment could see the artifacts of their perished brothers-in-arms from the “Belarus” tactical group that were donated to the Museum already in 2015 and displayed in the exhibitions several times.
Until the galloping Vytis is heard in my heart. To live with you, to die for you and to restore your greatness.
Long live Belarus! Live forever!