Belarusians need to prepare for partisan actions.
A volunteer with a prominent hussar moustache, Ihar ‘Yankee’ Noman is one of the most recognizable Belarusian fighters in Ukraine.
In Belarus, Ihar was professionally involved in sports: first football, later martial arts. He was also Dynamo Minsk FC lifelong fan. After the 2020 protests, he was forced to leave for Ukraine to avoid criminal prosecution.
The war caught Ihar ‘Yankee’ in Kyiv. The Belarusian did not hesitate and decided to defend the country that gave him asylum with weapons in his hands.
The Charter97.org website managed to talk with Ihar ‘Yankee’ about the war in Ukraine, the reaction of the occupiers to his sharp videos, and the liberation of Belarus.
— Hundreds of Belarusians are fighting for Ukraine today. How do the Armed Forces of Ukraine assess the professionalism of our volunteers?
— I don’t know the assessments of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but I know that all Belarusians are easily trained, everyone is moving forward, everyone has character and all, in general, are great guys.
— A few days ago, the commander of the Volat battalion Ivan Marchuk ‘Brest’ died. Did you know what kind of person he was?
— In fact, he was a very, very kind person. Smart, with the right values in life. Ivan was a real Belarusian, he could always help absolutely everyone.
— You have been actively involved in battles for Ukraine from the very beginning of the war. What fight do you remember the most?
— I mostly remember the battle for Lukyanivka, when the liberation of the Kyiv region was still underway. There are other tasks that I liked, but, unfortunately, I can not disclose information about them now.
— How would you assess the strength of the Russian army? How do they fight in general? Are they strong opponents?
— This is not the ‘second army of the world’ for sure. I don’t know who gave them such a status. How do they fight? They just release crowds of ‘meat’. They do not care whether ten, twenty, thirty or a hundred of the ‘vankas’ (Russians – Ed.) will die. They just release ‘meat’. I can say from my personal experience that as soon as their brothers get shot, they just leave them and escape. This is the Russian army. Regarding the war, I can say that their regular troops are very different from the landing troops for example. Their paratroopers have at least a minimal understanding of combat.
— How do you distract yourself from the war, because this is a very serious burden?
— I am now next to the best people on planet Earth. We are distracted simply by conversations and jokes.
— You are not only one of the most recognizable Belarusian volunteers but also a well-known blogger, so to speak. How did you get the idea to make videos and streams?
— There was no special idea. We accumulated some footage after Kyiv’s liberation. Later in our free time, while we were not training, my friend and I decided to post videos on TikTok, he on his channel, I on mine. We were just checking who had the most views there. Then I was interviewed after Lukyanivka and it made the rounds. I didn’t really want all this blogging back then, and even now I won’t call myself a blogger. It’s just that all the guys said that I should maintain the pages and show the whole world what’s really going on. That’s how it all happened.
Do the occupiers react to your videos?
— They are posing threats, threats from everyone: from the Russians, there are even threats from the Belarusian troops. There is a video I watched two days ago. It is about a Belarusian sniper who left for Russia and received Russian citizenship. He is a mercenary, a member of a PMC, and in the video, he says that he was promised a reward of one million Russian rubles for the ‘moustachioed Belarusian’.
I know that the Belarusian news publishers are broadcasting nasty things about us, in order to denigrate and show everyone that we are ‘Nazis’, we are ‘mercenaries’. Although let them learn about who the ‘mercenaries’ are. Another story appeared after the first month, after the liberation of the Kyiv region, where Ivan Zheleznyak and I were convicted in absentia without the right to appeal to a life sentence in the Black Dolphin special regime colony.
They are scared. But they are also told what to say. They need to denigrate us and show that we are bad people so that a certain number of Belarusians consider us bad. Few people try to understand the problem, just to take their time and delve deeply, consider the history, look at the facts and turn on the head. It is easier for them to watch some kind of propaganda news review. That is their goal.
I would like to advise them to turn on their brains, think more, and eat some nutrients more often because their brains are already evaporating along with their whole understanding of life.
— How should Belarus be liberated from the military point of view?
— Belarus will be liberated only by force. I think that Belarusians have already realised that peaceful protests do not work. Only by force. I want everyone to remember this – freedom comes with blood, no exceptions. When the Belarusians get tired of being slaves, when they want to be free and are ready to go to the end, then there will be a free Belarus.
— You serve together with Ukrainians, are they ready to support the Belarus liberation mission?
— If we are talking about some kind of military path, then no one will attack Belarus with a war. Russia can call it different words: a special operation or something like that, and then go to war in a foreign country. There is no one here to do that. When the people decide to fight for their freedom, we will all come to Belarus, as well as our real Ukrainian brothers.
— How could the Belarusians who are inside the country fight the dictatorship?
— I know that now everyone is under severe surveillance, let’s say, everyone is afraid to act anyhow. However, there are also examples of people who undermine rails and report missile launches. Belarusians need to conduct partisan activities. It will show that the Belarusian people care. They need more partisan actions.
— You said that you have the best people on the planet by your side. Do you see future Ukrainian and Belarusian politicians among your brothers?
— There are such people, for sure. Christian Udarov, for example. He is a very smart person, he knows a lot, and understands a lot. Yes, there are other people but I can’t talk about them now.
— What would you like to do in a free Belarus when it is liberated from Putin and Lukashenka?
— To build this free Belarus so that it is calm, clean and beautiful.
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