UKRAINE

Hurt twice: Belarusians are fleeing with Ukrainians

Alena is Belarusian from Gomel. When the protests in Belarus began in August 2020, she actively supported them. Alena went to all rallies, helped in the camp near the Okrestina prison, notorious for its torture methods, south-west of Minsk- she made transport services for people who were released, bought and brought food, water, clothes, helped relatives of the detainees with the Search for their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.

Alena was arrested for the first time after another rally and was released after a trial with a fine of 25 state “basic units” (1 unit corresponds to around €10). The second time she was arrested when she was leaving a friend’s house and was about to get into her car. Three men in plain clothes approached her and showed her a search warrant for the apartment. They put Alena in a black car and drove to her house. They woke the child and spent more than an hour looking around the apartment to find what they were looking for. And then they took her for interrogation. Released after being searched and interrogated, Alena fled Minsk to Kyiv.

Kyiv became a second homeland for Alena. There were many Belarusians there. There Alena was helped with housing and documents.

When it became known that the war had started, Alena packed her things, took her dog and left for the west of Ukraine. She was in Lviv for some time, then she went on to Lutsk.

“I thought I would stay there for some time and return to Kyiv.”

But then Alena woke up to the explosions thundering across town. So she packed up very quickly and made her way to the border to Poland. In Warsaw, Alena lived with a Belarusian family who, like her, had to leave their home country for political reasons. They have welcomed Alena very well. And after spending the night with them, she went back to the border to help in the refugee camp.

Alena received first aid with food, basic necessities and clothing in the “POBATSCH.WARSCHAU” humanitarian aid camp, which is run by the exiled

Belarusian association “Our house” (one of the largest exiled Belarusian associations in Lithuania and recently also in Warsaw, https://nash-dom.info/77190) and

the initiative group DAR (Belarusian exile activists for escape assistance, https://dar.belportal.live/ ),

which are supported by the German section of the International Society for Human Rights/ISHR (menschenrechte.de, igfm.de, humanrights-online.de, ishr.org).