Belarus says US-backed coup, murder plot against Lukashenko thwarted
A US-backed coup and assassination plot against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been thwarted in a joint effort by security services of Belarus and Russia, the country’s senior intelligence official revealed.
“As a matter of fact, it was a plotted state coup,” Belarusian State Security Committee’s (KGB) Investigation Director Konstantin Bychek announced on Sunday during an interview with Belarus-1 TV channel, referring to the alleged plot which he said was “the first-ever criminal case on an attempt to seize power” in Belarus.
He further stated that some suspects involved in the alleged plot – including a dual US-Belarusian citizen – were taken into custody and cooperating with investigators.
“Investigative actions continue. The detained persons have been taken to a KGB detention center. They are cooperating with the investigation, giving confessions,” Bychek added, noting that officials have also “issued inquiries to competent justice agencies of foreign states for legal assistance in investigating this criminal case.”
The KGB official then identified the US citizen involved in the scheme as lawyer Yuri Zenkovich, accusing him of collaborating with US spy agencies and engaging in the recruit of Belarusian military service members to “topple” the nation’s authorities.
“Zenkovich was linked with US special services. In Belarus, he tried to recruit and contract servicemen of the Belarusian armed forces and law enforcement agencies who were ready to take part in violent overthrowing of the current authorities for money,” he declared.
He said that according to Belarus’ security services, the man had meetings with servicemen and with representatives of terrorist groups, including those that were nipped by the KGB. “We recorded two cases when illegal money payment meant for servicemen was deposited in secret hiding places,” Bychek said, adding that active search activities were held for six months.
Pointing to Russian cooperation in thwarting the alleged coup plot, Bychek said after receiving a tip in March 2021 about Zenkovich’s visit to Moscow, the KGB contacted our “Russian partners … about the possibility of sending a group of Belarusian agents to Russia.” He then underlined that the detention of the suspects “was conducted jointly with the Russian partners.”