OLENA ROSHCHINA – WEDNESDAY, 6 JULY 2022, 08:28
Six Belarusian soldiers from the Kastus Kalinoŭski Regiment [voluntary Belarusian regiment that officially became part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in March 2022 - ed.] were captured or killed near Lysychansk. On 26 June, a group of soldiers from the regiment crossed paths with a Russian military convoy and engaged in combat.
Source: Nasha Niva, a Belarusian news outlet
Details: Until recently, there was a possibility that some of the soldiers might have survived. As of today, some of the soldiers have been confirmed dead and others were captured by the Russians.
The last message received from the soldiers said: "A tank is approaching us. We’re working on it."
Ivan Marchuk (also known as Brest) and five other soldiers did not return from their combat mission. Their regiment reports that search operations to find them are currently underway.
Eye witnesses report that Brest alongside some of the Belarusian soldiers were covering the retreat of the other part of their unit. Brest sustained severe injuries to his leg and head. In this battle, he was responsible for destroying at least one Russian tank.
Marchuk (aka Brest) was recognised in one of the photos published by the Russian military on 30 June, but Nasha Niva did not report this until it had received official confirmation. The fate of the other soldiers who have gone missing remains unknown.
On 5 July, a Russian Telegram channel shared a video of captive Yan Dzurbeiko (aka Trombli) from a village near Minsk. The Telegram source states that Dzurbeiko is not the only prisoner of war held by Russia.
The regiment, in turn, said that it is doing everything within its power to return its fighters, adding that the soldiers have been ordered to say "whatever the enemy wants to hear" in case of their capture by the Russians.
Nasha Niva notes that this is the largest loss sustained by the Belarusian regiment in the war so far. A total of seven Belarusian soldiers from different Ukrainian units have been killed since the beginning of the war.
Background: Ivan Marchuk (Brest) has been defending Ukraine since 2014. He served in the French Foreign Legion. Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale military invasion on 24 February 2022 he became the face of the Belarusian Kastus Kalinoŭski Regiment (which started out as a battalion but eventually grew sufficiently to become a regiment).