Russia places families of slain soldiers under surveillance, says Ukraine

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Russia is monitoring the families of soldiers killed in Vladimir Putin’s war, in case they publicly voice their opposition to the ongoing conflict, according to Ukrainian military intelligence.

In a report on Sunday, Ukraine’s military intelligence leadership said Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) for the western Kostroma region had asked to monitor certain people who may be “prone to commit crimes” under tough new laws that crack down on dissent. .

The FSB, the Kremlin’s main security agency, asked the head of the Vohomsk municipal district to provide background information on people who may violate the laws on “the public dissemination of false information and actions aimed at discrediting the forces”. armies of the Russian Federation and their participation in the aggression against Ukraine”, according to the report of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense.

People walk past a building adorned with the letter “Z” formed by the Russian patriotic black and orange Saint George ribbon, which has become a symbol of support for Russian military action in Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg on April 4, 2022.
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Russia’s parliament passed a law in March imposing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for intentionally spreading “false” information about the Russian military. The Kremlin has used the law to clamp down on those who stray from Putin’s war narrative.

“When collecting this information, special attention is paid to close relatives of servicemen who died on Ukrainian territory or participated in the war,” the Ukrainian military intelligence leadership said.

On Friday, Moscow City Deputy Alexei Gorinov became the first person to receive a long-term sentence under the new laws. The 60-year-old was sentenced by a court in the Russian capital to seven years in a penal colony for criticizing what Putin calls a “special military operation“. He was also banned from holding public office for four years after his release.

And in June, Russian politician and former State Duma candidate Mikhail Lobanov was detained for 15 days for “discrediting” the country’s military on his social media. He was ordered to pay a fine of 40,000 rubles ($637).

The Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate also noted in its Sunday report that Russia had stepped up recruitment for private military companies due to “significant losses” in the war.

A Russian soldier stands guard in Mariupol
A Russian serviceman stands guard in front of the destroyed part of the Ilyich steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on May 18, 2022, amid ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.
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Newsweek previously reported that Russian prisoners in St. Petersburg are offered freedom and money if they participate in the war.

According to the independent Russian-language investigative newspaper iStories, relatives of prisoners serving sentences in the city say notorious Russian mercenary Wagner Group is offering to pay 200,000 rubles ($3,446) and an amnesty, for six months of “voluntary” service in the Donbass region – if the prisoners return alive.

Convicts serving sentences at IK-7 “Yablonevka” and IK-6 “Obukhovo” in St. Petersburg were also reportedly offered compensation of five million rubles ($85,873) for their families in the event of death.

A relative of a convict told the media that prisoners were asked to “defend the fatherland”.

Newsweek always tries to verify these events and claims.

Sunday’s report also says Russian prisoners, after signing and fulfilling contracts with Wagner, are being promised full amnesty. He notes that recruitment takes place near the Krasnodar Territory village of Molkino and in prisons in Rostov, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.

“The article under which a specific person has been convicted is not important. Even if it is murder or other serious crimes. Everyone is promised full amnesty after six months of ‘service'”, according to the report of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense. said.

Russia is recruiting up to 10,000 personnel to deploy to Ukraine’s Donbass region, where the conflict is currently concentrated, according to the report.

Newsweek contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.

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