Operation Silence: Belarus coup plotters caught in the act

The FSB of Russia has distributed the footage of video surveillance over suspects, who allegedly worked to orchestrate a military coup in Belarus and planned to assassinate its president, Alexander Lukashenko. The suspects on surveillance were Belarusian lawyer Yuri Zyankovich and political scientist Alexander Feduta, who had already been arrested by the KGB of Belarus.

The video posted on the Military Observer Telegram channel shows Zyankovich talking to Feduta. The video also shows the moments when  the suspects were detained in different parts of Moscow.

Ivan Tertel, the chief of the KGB of Belarus, told ONT TV channel that the plot was codenamed as Operation Silence, while the plot itself was scheduled for June-July of 2021, BelTA news agency reports. 

Konstantin Bychek, the head of the investigation department of the State Security Committee of Belarus, confirmed that the detainees were currently held in the KGB pre-trial detention center.

According to him, the detained lawyer Yury Zenkovich, who has dual citizenship, was connected with US special services and tried to recruit and bribe Belarusian military and law enforcement officers "willing to participate in the violent toppling of the current government for a monetary compensation." 

The KGB "documented their meetings with servicemen, meetings with representatives of other terrorist groups, the activities of which had been suppressed by the State Security Committee."

“We have recorded two cases of illegal monetary handovers to servicemen through secret operations,” the KGB spokesman said.

The United States has rejected any possible connection with the case of the impending military coup in Belarus. The United States is not involved in any conspiracy to overthrow Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a State Department spokesman told TASS on Sunday.

"We have seen reports in Russian state media about the alleged conspiracy against Alexander Lukashenko, as well as his direct statements about it in the media. Any suggestion that the US government was either behind or was involved in the attempted assassination of Lukashenko is completely false," the unnamed official said. 

Commenting on the detention of lawyer Yuri Zenkovich, who has dual citizenship of the United States and Belarus, the US State Department representative said that Washington was ready to provide necessary consular assistance to its citizen.

On Saturday, April 17, the Russian FSB announced successful prevention of a military coup in Belarus, which was supposed to take place on May 9. The detained individuals, Zyankovich and Aleksandr Feduta, were supposedly planning a coup d'etat according to the worked-out scenario of color revolutions with the involvement of local and Ukrainian nationalists, intelligence services said. It was also said that the conspirators intended to transfer power to the National Reconciliation Committee. 

“According to Belarusian partners, Zenkovich and Feduta discussed a plan for an armed rebellion in Belarus in private chats of one of the messengers, and decided to hold a personal meeting in Moscow with opposition-minded generals of the Armed Forces of the republic,” the message said.

According to the FSB, Zenkovich held "consultations" in the United States and Poland, and then came to Moscow and met with the generals in the office of a Moscow restaurant. The conspirators told the generals that "for the successful implementation of their plan, one should physically eliminate practically the entire top leadership" of Belarus. They allegedly described the plan of the  military coup in detail, including the seizure of radio and television centers to broadcast their appeal to the people and the blockage of the units of internal troops and riot police loyal to the current government in Minsk. They also planned to shut down the entire power system of Belarus to hinder the actions of military and law enforcement agencies.

The ultimate goal of the coup was to change the constitutional system of Belarus, abolish the institute of presidency and entrust power to the National Reconciliation Committee. 

“After the meeting was documented, the conspirators were detained by the Russian security agencies and handed over to their Belarusian partners,” the FSB said.