During his trip to the Gomel oblast on 24 April, Alexander Lukashenko shared the details of the alleged coup plot, which had been disclosed by security services of Belarus and Russia and made public by the authorities last week.
According to Lukashenko, the conspirators developed several scenarios: his elimination during the 9 May parade, an attack on the presidential motorcade, and an armed attack on a country residence.
“Shooting Lukashenko at the parade was unrealistic, it would be impossible and they rejected it. The second option is that they have already brought grenade launchers to Belarus, these “Flies”. Then they refused. Why? Because of security, the president’s motorcade is moving at high speed – these are their words – the probability of hitting is very small, but if they identify us, they will shoot us right on the spot. Right. Tachanka, you know, a car, behind is a large-calibre machine gun with armour-piercing ammunition.
Jump out onto the road and destroy the motorcade. And then finish off with grenade launchers. This is one of the options. The next option is an attack on a country residence in Ozernoye. How do they know? Feduta told them. I won’t tell who financed this, 10 million dollars. $10 million was allocated for the destruction of the residence together with the head of state, and $1 million for a sniper to shoot the president,” said Lukashenko in a report shown on the STV TV channel.
“We watched them for a long time. Do you think we carried out this operation in Moscow out of nothing? We followed them, they were supposed to come to Minsk to carry out this operation. But as soon as this film was released [the investigative film “The Mankurts” on the ONT TV channel – Ed], they got more cautious and decided to meet in Moscow rather than Minsk. We watched their every step,” he added.
Lukashenko also said that among the conspirators there was an employee of the special services who played the role of a corrupt general: “He was our agent. Well done. I appreciate what he has done, he helped us a lot, he was not sacred. They wanted to arrange a revolt in the army through him.”
“They planned to raise the army, block the OMON, internal troops, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB. That is, the army was supposed to surround Minsk and block these units. You understand that we have the Ministry of Internal Affairs, internal troops, riot police, they are also prepared to work in the city. No army opposes them. But the main thing is that both are armed. They wanted to confront the army with these guys. It would be the worst hot civil war that no country has had. That’s the danger,” he said.
According to Lukashenko, the conspirators also had plans to disconnect Minsk’s power system.
“And I thank [Vladimir] Putin! Somehow I didn’t notice, and the specialists didn’t pay attention. At the last negotiations, he said, ‘Do you know they wanted to do something with Minsk’s power system? Do you understand that one can’t turn it off with a switch?’ This is a cyberattack! He said,’ I tell you as a friend, two or three hackers can’t carry out such cyberattack on power supply systems. This is a foreign state operation!’ Israel recently carried out such an operation against Iran and blew up a nuclear facility. They wanted to arrange something like this here in Belarus.”
On Saturday, 17 April, Alexander Lukashenko said that political analyst Alexander Feduta and lawyer Yury Zenkovich were involved in plotting the assassination attempt on him and his sons. “Then we found out about the involvement of foreign intelligence services. Most likely, the CIA, the FBI, I do not know which of the Americans exactly. We learned about their plans to come to Minsk and to organize an assassination against the president and his children,” said Lukashenko.
Later that day, the state-run ONT TV channel aired a report with a commentary by the KGB Chairperson Ivan Tertel that the special services “managed to prevent attempts of an armed coup in Belarus and elimination of government officials”. The official said that Alexander Feduta, Yuri Zenkovich and Grigory Kostusev were members of the criminal group. The ONT reported that “the conspirators plotted the coup for the summer of this year, June or July”.
The Federal Security Service (FSS) of Russia confirmed the information of the KGB of Belarus and stated that it had participated in the operation to detain Feduta and Zenkovich in Moscow. According to the agency, they arrived in the city after consultations in the U.S. and Poland to meet with “opposition-minded generals of the Belarusian Armed Forces.” At the same time, according to the FSS, seizing power by force in Belarus was planned for 9 May.
“Any suggestion that the U.S. government was behind this or was involved in the attempted assassination of Lukashenko is completely false,” said the U.S. State Department representative.
A criminal case under Part 1 of Art. 357 (Conspiracy or other actions committed with the aim of seizing or retaining state power by unconstitutional means) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. They face punishment from 8 to 12 years in prison. On April 21, the KGB of Belarus reported that four persons (Zenkovich, Feduta, Kostusev, the fourth was not named) were detained in the “coup d’etat case”.