In recent weeks, Russia has stepped up its efforts to try to suppress any kind of opposition and dissent inside the occupied Ukrainian territories, in particular to prevent possible actions carried out by civilians against Russian targets. Recently, for example, the Russian authorities governing the occupied territories have introduced even stricter measures to limit the freedom of civilians. They have strengthened their intelligence units tasked with intercepting potential resistance or retaliatory actions by the Ukrainians and have imposed restrictive rules on travel between urban centers.
Among other things, the Russian government ruled last week that Ukrainian civilians in the occupied territories who do not agree to hold a Russian passport can be forcibly displaced from their homes.
According to the National Center of Resistance, a Ukrainian government agency created a month after the start of the war precisely to disseminate information to civilians on how to resist the occupation, Russia would have started sending agents of its secret services to the occupied areas in order bourgeois: these agents would pretend to be Ukrainian citizens and would start conversations with the inhabitants to understand their positions towards the Russians and their eventual involvement in resistance actions. The Ukrainian army also said that the Russians would start carrying out house-to-house police operations in the Kherson region (still partially occupied by the Russians), to seize mobile phones and other electronic devices and check documents, videos and photos inside them. .
Russian concerns about possible acts of resistance and rebellion have also increased because Russia fears a new Ukrainian military counter-offensive, which has been talked about for weeks and with which Ukraine would first of all like to regain control of the territories lost during these 14 months of war. If the counter-offensive were to start, and if the acts of resistance from inside the occupied territories were to intensify, the Russian authorities would find themselves under enormous pressure and might not have the strength to respond.
Indeed, in the occupied territories, Ukraine has managed to keep some form of resistance active, even if it is not clear how intense and extensive. The Wall Street Journal spoke of the presence of a network of Ukrainian informers and partisans who regularly send the coordinates of Russian bases or logistics centers to the army, thus exposing them to new attacks. Independently verifying what exactly happens in the Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russians is however complicated – “practically impossible”, writes the New York Times – given that very rarely independent journalists, humanitarian organizations and international observers manage to gain access to those areas.
Since the beginning of the war, however, a series of attacks have been carried out against Russian targets inside the occupied territories: in some cases Ukraine has claimed responsibility for them, in other cases they have been attributed to the Ukrainians by Russia, however without confirmation from Ukrainian side.
In Melitopol, an occupied city, a local police chief who had started collaborating with them after the arrival of the Russians was killed last month: he died in the explosion of a bomb positioned at the entrance to the complex where he lived. A little over a month earlier, again in Melitopol and again with a bomb, this time in his car, Ivan Tkach, appointed by the Russians as director of the public transport network, had been killed. The same thing happened last March in Mariupol, where the car of Russian police chief Mikhail Moskvin, who survived the attack, was blown up.
Also during the occupation of Kherson several Russian officials were killed, probably by Ukrainian civilians. In another attack last January, a railway line in the occupied city of Shchastia, Luhansk region, used by the Russians both to transport ammunition, weapons and military personnel from Russia to Ukraine and to carry Ukrainian grains was blown up in the occupied city of Shchastia. in Russia. The day after the explosion Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, praised the attack, attributing it to “Ukrainian partisans”.
– Read also: The attack by “saboteurs” on the border between Russia and Ukraine last March