How some 'traitors' in Ukraine have been helping Vladimir Putin's 'invaders': report

How some 'traitors' in Ukraine have been helping Vladimir Putin's 'invaders': report
Image via Creative Commons.

Almost 11 months after Russian forces launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, the conflict continues to rage on. The Russo-Ukrainian War has brought the deadliest fighting in Europe since World War 2. Russian President Vladimir Putin was hoping for a quick and easy invasion, but Ukrainian forces have been much more aggressive and determined fighters than Putin and his allies in the Kremlin anticipated.

In an article published by the Daily Beast on January 16, London-based journalist Tom Mutch takes a look at residents of Eastern Ukraine who have been helping Russia during the conflict. Some of the Russian sympathizers who Mutch focuses on are in Donbas, a region of Eastern Ukraine that has experienced intense fighting.

“Russia’s claims that the people of Donbas are being ‘liberated’ by the invasion after being (subjected) to a ‘genocide’ by Ukrainian nationalists is a baseless piece of propaganda,” Mutch explains. “But that’s not to say that there aren’t some in the easternmost regions of Ukraine who have fallen for the Russian narrative. And in the meantime, they were doing their bit to help the invaders.”

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The journalist, who is originally from New Zealand, adds, “The Ukrainian government has attempted to crack down on such ‘traitors’ from the early days of the war, with President Volodymyr Zelensky signing anti-collaboration legislation into law quickly after the invasion began on February 24. Scores of citizens have since been arrested under the law, including 400 in the Kharkiv region alone, according to the Associated Press. Ukrainian authorities have even arrested SBU officials on charges of treason, and reportedly have plans to compile a public ‘registry of collaborators’ in the country.”

Mutch notes that in Eastern Ukraine, Russians “are said to offer hefty cash rewards for details on Ukrainian military positions and troop movements.”

Bryce Wilson, an Australian journalist who has been in Ukraine covering the war, spoke to the Daily Beast and described Russian efforts to get sympathizers in that part of Ukraine to help them.

“According to Wilson, a source in the Ukrainian military had described a case in which an adolescent boy would travel around the region, hitching rides to various regions and claiming he was lost,” Mutch reports. “When he was later detained, authorities allegedly found evidence that he had been scouting military positions and sending them to the Russians. Though many who have collaborated with the Russians in formerly occupied territories like Kherson or eastern Kharkiv likely did so under duress, others apparently have no compunctions about betraying their country.”

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Mutch adds, “Locals warned journalists of pro-Russian saboteurs when I visited the Luhansk region in May, claiming to have seen them slash the tires of Ukrainian Army vehicles in order to stop them from ferrying troops and supplies back and forth through the region. One pro-Russian civilian from Lysychansk told a France24 crew that they ‘want to be reunited with the Russians, they are our friends, not the Germans in Europe.’”

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