Ukraine cracks downs on civilians – official
The Ukrainian military has unleashed repressions on the civilian population in Kharkov region, with mercenaries executing people on the streets to frame Russia, a local official claimed on Monday.
“The Ukrainian Armed Forces have occupied settlements in the north of the Kharkov region. They have started repressive actions,” Vitaly Ganchev, the head of pro-Russian administration, said.
Speaking to Russian media, he said local residents who managed to escape from the areas retaken by Kiev’s forces, described Ukrainian “mercenaries that are driving around and shooting people while filming it on camera.”
“As I see it, they want to cleanse these towns, and to portray it as if the Russian troops are behind it, to allege that it was them who had committed these atrocities,” he said.
He added that in many cases residents could no longer cross the Russia-Ukraine border due to the Ukrainian military presence, with many civilians forced into hiding.
Nevertheless, according to Ganchev, more than 5,000 people have been evacuated to Russia in recent days, with local authorities doing their best to fast-track the process.
Ganchev’s comments echo remarks made by Leonid Pasechnik, the head of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), who claimed on Sunday that Kiev’s forces were cracking down on the civilian population in areas from which Russian forces had retreated.
"The Ukrainian authorities have confirmed their neo-Nazi nature. In Kharkov region, in a number of cases Ukrainian intelligence services set up purges and repressions against the civilian population", he claimed.
The comments came after Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations said last week it would conduct a “filtration” of civilians in Balakleya, a town in Kharkov region that’s been retaken by Kiev’s forces.
The purpose of these efforts is to “prevent the subversive activities of the Russians and their allies” and retaliate against those “who cooperated with aggressors,” the agency said at the time.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.