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“If Kyiv continued to live the way we live here, everything would be different.” Anger of Ukrainians left in Donbas – News

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Vladislav Kopatsky, a 24-year-old Ukrainian policeman, brings dough and bread to a village on Ukraine’s eastern front, but at times he has the impression that he is in enemy territory.

Kopatsky pulls groceries out of the trunk of a car and quickly looks at the horizon for trails of smoke that point to the recent Russian bombardment of the city of Novonikolaevka. Then he continues his journey to distribute humanitarian aid to residents. However, his arrival is sometimes met with coldness or worse.

Many residents who remained in Novonikolaevka near Kramatorsk, despite fierce fighting and orders from the Ukrainian authorities to evacuate, support the Russians. Elders who grew up in the Soviet era continue to have a deep distrust of Kyiv.

Kopatsky explains that many residents have already been detained on suspicion of giving the Russians the GPS coordinates of Ukrainian rear bases. “Unfortunately, it happened,” he says, climbing out of the makeshift underground shelter where the family had just spent three days under Russian bombardment.

Kopatsky says he is “trying to talk” to pro-Russian residents, “but those who grew up in the Soviet era are hard to convince.” “They have a point of view, and they will not budge,” he assured.

An opinion fueled by Kremlin propaganda that classifies Ukrainians as “neo-Nazis” on Washington’s orders and makes Kopatsky a potential target in these frontline locations.

Ukrainian soldiers who have been in contact with residents estimate that between 30% and 45% of them support the Russians. “They are definitely passing on our geolocation to the Russians,” complained one soldier during a brief rest after five days at the front.

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Donbass is populated predominantly by Russian speakers whose roots in the region date back to sending Russian laborers after World War II. This history has shaped the identity of the Donbass, which has maintained strong economic and cultural ties with Russia since the fall of the USSR and Ukraine’s independence.

Andrey Oleinik, a 48-year-old wheelchair-bound resident of Novonikolayevka, spent the past week listening in the dark to military aircraft hovering and shells exploding nearby. His wooden hut in the garden was damaged. Since then, he has become even angrier at Kyiv and Moscow for not seeking peace.

“The Russians have left Kyiv. For the people there, the war seems to be over. If the people of Kiev continued to live the way we live here, everything would be different,” he says. “I blame both governments. Both parties are responsible. They don’t care about us,” he laments.

Part of the resentment towards Kyiv also stems from the region’s economic condition, which suffered from deindustrialization before the start of the war with the separatists in 2014.

Andrei and his wife Elena managed to collect their savings and in recent days tried to leave with their children for a neighboring town, but were forced to return because four days after their arrival, he became the target of airstrikes.

“Where can we go?” Andrey asks. “There is a war going on all over the region,” he adds. A local policeman, seeing how families return with their belongings, despite the explosions, cannot hold back his tears. “They return to this hell because they have nowhere to go,” he says.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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