The spokesperson of the Minister Special Services Coordinator Stanisław Żaryn confirmed that 25-year-old Emil Czeczko defected from the Polish army to Belarus. At the time of the defection, he was meant to leave the army within the next few days.
The soldier’s superiors have since been removed from duty based on a decision by Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak.
The Belarusian State Border Committee (GPK) published photos of Czeczko from his social media accounts and stated that the defector was detained by Belarusian border officers on Thursday afternoon in the Hrodna region.
Fragments of an interview with Czeczko who, according to Belarusian side applied for asylum, were published online. In the interview for Belarusian state media, he is asked whether Poles shoot at migrants, and he responded by stating that “it was obvious.”
Independent Belarusian journalist Taduesz Giczan explained on Twitter that this is an example how Belarusian propaganda worked.
“Emil is telling the story how the ‘Polish Border Guard killed at least two volunteers who tried to help migrants.’ The issue with Belarusian propaganda is that in comparison to the Russian version, it has no limits,” he posted.
Emil Czeczko previously had severe problems with the law. According to information from Polish media outlet Gazeta Olsztyńska, he had beaten up his mother a few months ago and Polish police were forced to intervene.
According to Onet.pl last week, Czeczko was stopped while driving drunk and under the influence of drugs. He had not admitted to the police that he was a professional soldier, which is why the Military Gendarmerie was not involved in the incident. Czeczko was aware that the police report would quickly reach his army unit, which meant that he would have resulted in his expulsion from the military.
Polish authorities say that the decision to defect to Belarus is unlikely to have been made by the soldier, but was the beginning of the operation of Belarusian services. The final phase of this operation was unveiled on Friday in the form of the aforementioned interview for Belarusian state media.
The most likely scenario which is currently being considered is that Czeczko had been a Belarusian spy for a while, or at least an informant for a Belarusian agent, according to independent sources associated with the military and military special services.
Czeczko’s sister’s partner, who is a Belarusian, is currently being investigated.