During the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil, Andrei Fomochkin, a deputy minister of the Sport and Tourism Ministry of Belarus, defiantly and unexpectedly carried a Russian flag as a political gesture. The government of Belarus condoned the move but insisted it was not pre-planned, while the International Paralympic Committee banned Fomochkin from attending the Games.
He plans on walking from West to East across the whole of Belarus. To get to Belarus, Ponomarev took a train from Saratov to Brest, and from there started off on foot for Gomel.
He has with him a wheeled cart, in which he carries essentials such as a tent, a sleeping bag, warm clothes, food, radio and travel cooking appliances.