For 12 days, at least four Russian and Belarusian KGB agents watched 26-year-old journalist Roman Protasevich and his 23-year-old girlfriend Sofia Sapega, both physically and electronically, according to the Greek newspaper iefimerida with reference to national intelligence service Greece.
The movements of the journalist detained in Minsk after the emergency landing of the flight from Athens to Vilnius were mapped by the leaders of the EYP (national intelligence service Greece) from the moment of his arrival in Greece to boarding the plane at the airport “El. Venizelos “.
It turned out that his passengers on the flight departing from Greece were at least four KGB agents who landed in Minsk, where the 26-year-old activist was finally arrested. Based on this data, EYP looks for data from the passenger list for those who disembarked in Minsk, although it is assumed that their names are not real. They are also studying how and where the KGB officers came from in El. Venizelos ”and analyze materials from CCTV cameras at the airport in search of information that may relate to agents.
What Roman Protasevich was doing in Greece.
According to the newspaper, the 26-year-old Belarusian activist has been in Greece since May 9 with his girlfriend, and not with the official mission of the leader of the official opposition of Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who took part in the Delphic Forum for several days and met with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.
The publication does not report on what grounds a citizen of Belarus arrived in the country at a time when Greece was closed to citizens of the Russian Federation (Sofia Sapega) and Belarus – although it is known that Roman Protasevich received in 2020, document on political asylum in Poland, (editorial note)
The young people lived in apartments they rented through airbnb.
Roman Protasevich was spotted by Greek police officers accompanying Ms Tikhanovskaya at an event on Mitropoleos Street in Athens, where members of the mission informed the security officer that he was a photojournalist covering the trip of the official opposition leader.
Roman also appeared again, during her visit to the Acropolis, at the laying of a wreath at the Polytechnic University, as well as on the day when Svetlana Tikhanovskaya participated in the Delphic Forum.
On May 15, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend went on vacation to Crete, posting photos and videos on social networks. A day later, Tikhanovskaya left Greece with a support group. It is noteworthy that after the arrest, all accounts of the couple were blocked at the level of the Facebook administration.
Finally, on the afternoon of Sunday 23 May, the 26-year-old boy and his girlfriend boarded a flight to Athens Vilnius, apparently accompanied by four agents who monitored their movements until the plane was forced to land and they were arrested, says the Greek newspaper.
Petrosevich already then wrote a message that he was being followed (from Petrosevich’s correspondence published on the Internet)
According to representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, 2 citizens of Belarus and 2 citizens of Greece got off the plane. And if the first 2 could well have been KGB officers, the other 2 were citizens of Greece, who most likely traveled to Belarus through Lithuania.
When it became clear that the plane was landing in Minsk and not in Vilnius, according to other passengers, Protasevich put his head in his hands and began to tremble, repeating over and over again, “I will be executed there.”
A Lithuanian passenger named Mantas told Reuters that Protasevich got up from his seat, opened a shelf above where he was sitting, took out his laptop and telephone and handed it to the woman accompanying him.
Sophia Sapega. Photo: Instagram (already closed, like all social networks of her friend)
Sophia is 23 years old, for the last five years she has lived in Vilnius, where she is currently completing the fifth year of the European Humanities University (EHU) with a degree in international and European Union law. Recently, in April, there was a session – Sophia passed international criminal law, passed 10 out of 10. The teacher Dovile Sagaitene calls her an intelligent student. Then there was the preliminary defense of the diploma, and then Sophia flew to Greece with Roman – to rest before the defense itself, which was supposed to be in a week.
Sofia is a citizen of Russia, and she also has a residence permit in Lithuania and Belarus. Her mother lives in Belarus, her father lives in Russia. According to fellow student Sophia, she graduated from high school in Minsk and moved to Lithuania to get higher education.
For the EU, he is an activist journalist kidnapped by his political opponents, but for the Lukashenka regime (which has been in power since … 1994) he is considered a “terrorist”, and since the fall of 2020 has been persecuted for “calls to action that influenced the national safety”. But his past is much darker than what most Western media have portrayed so far.
Protashevich was born on May 5, 1995 in Minsk, all high-ranking military man, engaged in idological work. He was expelled from school for participating in a protest in 2011 and then expelled from the journalism program of Minsk State University. What did not prevent him from working for Radio Liberty for about 8 years
In 2012, he was arrested as the leader of opposition groups on social media. Then he was a member of the Youth Front, a right-wing pro-European organization that organized street demonstrations against Lukashenka and also fought to expand the use of the Belarusian language. Nationalist and anti-communist “Youth Front” (Young Front), founded in 1997, participated in the escalation of demonstrations in 1996-1997 in Belarus, and some of its members underwent training with a strikeball weapon (according to Radio Liberty).
During the civil war in Ukraine, according to a survey by the anti-Nazi research platform FoiaRequest.net, Protashevich participant ultra-right riots on the Maidan in Kiev in 2013-2014. According to him, he was not there for long, but nevertheless, he was able to be noted in the destruction of the monument to Lenin.
In the picture on Facebook, he, with White-red flag of Belarus, takes part in the destruction of the monument to Lenin.
It is known that Protasevich served in the Azov battalion, as part of the so-called. “Atryad” Pagonya “” during the war in Donbass. Where, according to Ukrainian sources, he also underwent good sabotage and reconnaissance training.
Roman Protasevich closely followed a series of anti-government demonstrations in Belarus in February and March 2017, as seen in photographs on social media, maintaining close ties with neo-Nazis.
Detention of Roman Protasevich, March 2017
There are known facts of his participation in the installation of a temporary monument to nationalists, as well as in actions of symbolic book burning. In April 2018, he was at the State Department in Washington for a series of contacts, what he called “the most important week of his life.” In August of the same year, he began working for the US-funded radio Euroradio.fm.
In 2020, Protashevich was the founder and editor-in-chief of the oppositional news service Nexta, a Telegram channel supported by the Polish-Belarusian channel Belsat. It is known that the Nexta channel, which led anti-government protests and is allegedly funded by the Polish special services, became very popular by gaining access to confidential information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, posting personal security officials data who took part in dispersing the demonstrations.
Protasevich himself in November 2020 was accused of organizing mass riots (Article 293 of the Criminal Code) and of organizing group actions that grossly violate public order (Article 342 of the Criminal Code). In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus demanded that Poland extradite Roman Protasevich.