war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian-installed ‘leader’ in occupied Ukraine acknowledges that Ukrainians hate and try to kill them

Halya Coynash
Even Russians supporting their country’s invasion of Ukraine, and local collaborators admit that they have every reason to fear for their lives, with the population hating them

Balytsky complaining that you can’t drop your guard for a second, as somebody will put poison into your food or drink Screenshot

Balytsky complaining that you can’t drop your guard for a second, as somebody will put poison into your food or drink Screenshot

Russia’s reliance on fake referendums; terror; state propaganda and rewritten history books to push its narrative about the Ukrainian territory that it seized in 2022 has encountered a new obstruction.  All of the claims about near 100% support for ‘joining Russia’ mean little when the Russian-installed ‘leaders’ of such territory live in fear of their lives and ‘Russian world’ fanatics also admit that Ukrainians hate them.

Yevgeny Balitsky is one of the first collaborators whom Russia installed as ‘leader’ of occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia oblast in 2022.  Since that time, he has seen a number of other collaborators blown up or shot dead by members of the population, and he clearly fears that he may be next.  In at least two interviews to Russian propaganda television, Balitsky has complained about the level of security that “the leadership” in occupied Zaporizhzhia needs just to stay alive.  One of the most telling details is that they need to buy food in certain places to ensure that they’re not poisoned by a population Russia is claiming to have ‘liberated’.

On 12 August, RIA Melitopol posted an excerpt from Balytsky’s interview with notorious Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov.  “The entire leadership have undergone special training, - he said, – we look with our telephones, with mirrors, we examine cars, the entire hygiene of security which needs to be on the territory, everything is being done.  We also live in bunkers, we’re also forced to look around each day and take care of our security”.

Excerpts from an earlier interview, on 11 July, have been posted by Ukrainian journalist Denis Kazansky and RIA Melitopol.  Balytsky speaks of the special instructions they have received, including on “where it’s necessary to buy food items so that we’re not poisoned.”

For a Russian-installed ‘leader’ of territory, where Moscow is claiming that over 93% of the population voted to ‘join Russia’, Balytsky is indeed startlingly honest.  RIA Melitopol notes that, in this respect, he has changed, with it unclear whether this is from drinking too much, or simply because of the mounting fear for his life .  He says: “Believe me, in Melitopol there are also people who are against the current authorities.  You can’t make people live with you by force. It may be just for a short period, while you relax, and then just wait for them to slip some poison [into your food or drink]. There are people here who don’t like us, but it is our task, that of the authorities, to do things so that there were as few as possible.”

After 18 months of Russian abductions; torture and killings of civilians on occupied territory, it would be naïve to believe that the measures Balytsky is talking about have anything to do with improving the quality of people’s lives.

As reported, Russia has claimed a huge turnout for the so-called ‘referendums’ held at gunpoint from 23-27 September 2022. In Zaporizhzhia oblast, 93.11% of ‘voters’ are supposed to have supported ‘joining Russia’.  The ‘central election commission’ asserted that the figure had been only a little lower in Kherson oblast - 87.05%. 

Worth recalling that Kherson itself was liberated on 11 November 2022.  Truly liberated, with the video footage of crowds in the central square waving Ukrainian flags, hugging and kissing Ukrainian soldiers, watched all around the world. There are many such videos of Ukrainians rushing out to meet defenders, bringing them food offerings or flowers.  The soldiers are clearly confident that their fellow citizens will not slip poison into the food or try to kill them in some other way.  

Not all Russians repeat the official lies.  Even some of the most rabid supporters of ‘Russian world’ imperialist ideology are brutally honest about the huge percentage of Ukrainians in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts who hate the Russians.  Margarita Krivtsova and her husband, Roman, are ‘volunteers’, with the so-called ‘Regiment Margo’ travelling to occupied Ukraine to help the invading army. 

In a recent interview, recorded by Kazansky on 11 July 2023, Roman Krivtsov states that 70% of the population in both Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are “against Russian world, against us”.  His wife can be heard saying “more” (than 70%).  They call the Ukrainians, living on Ukrainian territory and helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces, ‘traitors’, clearly not understanding at all how absurd this sounds.  Krivtsov adds that these ‘volunteers’ try to enter occupied Ukrainian territory early in the morning, so that they can get away by evening.  It is, he acknowledges, extremely dangerous to find a local place to stay – “you may not wake up in the morning.”

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