On the border between Ukraine and Belarus, the “relative calm” of an area under high surveillance

It could almost pass for a sinecure. 2 km from Belarus, in the Chernihiv region, in Ukraine, the men of section chief Bogouslav, a burly thirty-year-old, regain their strength by spying on the Russian and Belarusian positions on the other side of the border. After four months spent in the urban hell of Bakhmout, the city of Donbass that has become the epicenter of the fighting, their aerial reconnaissance unit (“Aerorozvidka” in Ukrainian) recently completed a rotation. The Ukrainian soldiers, in uniform, breathe in the acidulous smell of the vast pine forest, and feel on their hooded faces a gentle spring breeze. The rays of the sun descend to the bottom of the trenches carefully protected by wooden planks.

“Contrary to the frequent bombings we are subjected to on the side of the Russian border [qui commence 50 km plus à l’est], there is a relative calm here. This does not mean that there is no military activity on the other side of the border. Merely, [Alexandre] Lukashenko [dirigeant de la Biélorussie] has obviously obtained from Moscow that its thousand kilometers of border with Ukraine remain outside the war zone”says Alexei, a Ukrainian military intelligence officer wearing small rectangular glasses.

The latest military activity observed is limited to the overflight of a Russian military surveillance drone “Orlan”, a few days earlier, notes Bogouslav: “No other Russian or Belarusian incursion with us”. “Our task, he resumes, is to identify enemy reconnaissance groups, their infiltration attempts. We observe the concentrations of troops and military equipment. Any form of threat is immediately transmitted to the staff. » But most of the movements detected relate to wildlife in this region, one of the wildest in Europe.. “Sometimes we catch a deer and write ‘Long live Ukraine’ on its sides before sending it back to the border,” laughs a soldier under the orders of Bogouslav.

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In this area, Ukrainian border guards have animated relations in recent months by taunting their Belarusian colleagues with gestures of defiance. On March 12, Belarusian state television broadcast the testimony of one of them complaining of “psychological pressure” exerted by the Ukrainians on his men. In the image, a mannequin wearing a Russian uniform is seen hanging from a tree. “The aggressor disguises himself as the victim. The territory of others does not interest us. We just kindly warn them of what will happen to them if they dare to enter our home armed again. If that makes them squeal, so much the better! »continues the Ukrainian soldier.

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