Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko recently told the Daily Mail that members of the Ukrainian intelligence service were killing Ukrainians suspected of aiding the Russians in regions where Kyiv has expelled the ongoing invasion. (Related: Ukraine territories annexed by Russia could serve as potential launchpads for further military action.)
"A hunt has been declared on collaborators and their life is not protected by law," the Daily Mail quoted Gerashchenko as saying. "Our intelligence services are eliminating them, shooting them like pigs."
The British news outlet featured numerous examples of individuals currently in Ukrainian custody and facing prosecution for helping the Russian invasion. According to the Daily Mail, Ukrainian officials are compiling lists of alleged collaborators.
The news outlet highlighted the harrowing situation in Balakliya, eastern Ukraine. Russian occupiers spent about six months running Balakliya until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the full liberation of the town on September 8.
An unnamed Ukrainian official called the targeted individuals "losers." The suspected collaborators are reportedly facing retribution because Russia did not permit them to cross the border.
Documents shared by Ukrainian government officials seemed to confirm at least 29 "retribution killings." The Daily Mail discovered another 29 "suspicious deaths" of individuals suspected of helping the Russians.
The Ukrainian officials' attitude toward collaborators is reflected in past public statements emphasizing the importance of neutralizing the threat of alleged traitors – with or without due process.
"If I could have the opportunity to check all of our country's citizens for involvement in cooperation with the Russian Federation, I would definitely do it, because this is a very dangerous situation. And it doesn’t matter where those moles are today. We need to find and 'poison' these rats," Ukraine's National Defense Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said last August, appearing to urge support from the public in helping identify collaborators.
"We need to ensure that none of them remain on our territory. This is a matter of our national security. And their presence in any agencies is very, very dangerous. Why? Because the Russian Federation does not give up hope of achieving its main goal – to destroy us as a state."
Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation had declared 881 legal cases connected to charges of "high treason" and "collaborative activities" as of September. Additionally, 1,164 people are being investigated for involvement in treason and collaborative activities.
Ukrinform reported last month that 315 people were served with notice of charges and 216 people were put on a wanted list. Most cases were opened in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions, as well as the city of Kyiv.
Zelensky appeared to hint in remarks in April that extrajudicial handling of such accusations would be deemed necessary. "Regarding antiheroes. Now I do not have time to deal with all the traitors. But gradually they will all be punished," Zelensky said at the time.
He then announced that "the ex-chief of the Main Department of Internal Security of the Security Service of Ukraine Naumov Andriy Olehovych and the former head of the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Kherson region Kryvoruchko Serhiy Oleksandrovych are no longer generals."
In July, Zelensky also moved to strip Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and Security Service Head Ivan Bakanov of their titles in response to hundreds of cases of alleged treason under their leadership.
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Watch the video below about the crackdown of pro-Russian supporters who are labeled as "traitors" in Ukraine.
This video is from the Russia Truth channel on Brighteon.com.