Much of the carnage shown on mainstream media portray Ukraine as the hapless victim of a brutal Russian invasion. But the reality appears to paint a far different picture.
“The war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members who express themselves critical of the government,” a left-wing activist told JW.
One example is Volodymyr Strok, mayor of Kreminna in Lugansk. Strok reportedly called on his Ukrainian colleagues to negotiate with pro-Russian officials. According to his wife, Strok “was kidnapped by men in military uniform & shot in the heart.” Images of his tortured body appeared the following day. Advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko praised the mayor’s murder, posting on his Telegram page: “There is one less traitor in Ukraine.”
In March, the body of Yuri Prylipko, mayor of Gostomel, was discovered murdered. Prylipko had reportedly entered into negotiations with the Russian army to plan a humanitarian corridor for evacuating his city’s residents.
Also, in March, the mayor of Kupyansk, Genady Matsegora, released a video (below) plea asking President Volodymyr Zelensky and his cabinet to release his daughter. She was taken hostage by the Ukrainian SBU intelligence agency.
Dennis Kireev, a top member of Ukraine’s negotiating team, was killed in Kyiv following Ukraine’s initial round of talks with Russia. Kireev was subsequently accused in local Ukrainian media of “treason.”
Zelensky’s warning that “there would be consequences for collaborators” implies that the highest levels of government-sanctioned these “punishments” in Kyiv.
On March 19, Zelensky enforced martial law to outlaw 11 opposition parties in an executive order outlaw 11 opposition parties. “The activities of those politicians aimed at division or collusion will not succeed but will receive a harsh response,” Zelensky stated.
Then on April 12, Zelensky arrested one of his most outspoken political rivals, Viktor Medvedchuk, by Ukraine’s SBU security services. Images emerged showing that Medvedchuk was brutally beaten.
Medvedchuk’s face is clearly bruised, apparently a result of beatings from Zelensky’s SBU goons. Don’t expect any questions about this image to appear in the pages of the NYT or in CNN’s 24 hour media circus. Can’t allow anything to undermine the pro-war narrative. pic.twitter.com/A0qhhmeaj8
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) April 12, 2022
One of the more gruesome incidents of repression was when neo-Nazis backed by the Ukrainian government kidnapped Maxim Ryndovskiy, a pro-MMA fighter, and tortured him. His “crime” was training with Russian counterparts at a gym in Chechnya. Ryndovskiy is also Jewish, with a Star of David tattooed on his leg. He had spoken out on social media against the war in eastern Ukraine in the past.
In Kyiv, local [I don’t know to fucking call them] extremists caught and brutally torture a famous Ukrainian athlete, MMA fighter, Maxim Ryndovsky. All his fault is that he trained with the Chechen club “Akhmat”. pic.twitter.com/og1Psly7SE
— Maria Dubovikova (@politblogme) March 5, 2022
Even regular Ukrainian civilians were tortured since the start of the conflict. Videos have appeared on social media featuring common citizens tied to lamp posts, many times with their genitals exposed or their faces painted green.
Roma people (“gypsies”) left Kyiv as refugees and went to the border town, Lviv, where they are facing discrimination by Ukrainians. Like here, tied to poles. A popular Ukrainian Telegram channel celebrates this action and mocks the victims.#Kyiv #Ukraine #Russia #Nazi pic.twitter.com/3cWZ9a78uA
— Global Politics (@Geopol2030) March 21, 2022
Territorial Defense volunteers did these acts to enforce law and order during wartime. These acts of humiliation and torture have targeted everyone, from accused Russian sympathizers to Roma people.
Last month, Israel365 News reported that Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich suffered poisoning symptoms following peace talks. Although no culprit has been identified, evidence points to the government’s overlooked track record of attacking anyone viewed as a “collaborator.”