Door-to- door searches are being conducted to find pro-Russian collaborators in Nikolaev, a local official said.
The southern Ukrainian city of Nikolaev resorted to drastic measures this weekend to expose what the local authorities call collaborators and separatists are who harbor pro-Russian sentiments or help Moscow's forces in any way.
On Friday, the head of the local military administration, Vitaly Kim, put the entire city home to more than half a million people before the start of the Russian military operation on a two-day lockdown. Kim announced a curfew that came into force Friday evening and is expected to last until Monday.
During this time, residents of Nikolaev are not allowed to go outside or visit any public places without special permits. In case of emergency, a police escort is provided, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN said.
Anna Zamazeeva, head of the Nikolaev regional council, said that law enforcement agencies will use this time to search for collaborators and separatists. The police will reveal the results no sooner than Monday, and the operation is already in full swing, according to the official.
She told UNIAN on Saturday that all Nikolaev residents are undergoing checks. The official said those who planned to leave the city and bought train or bus tickets in advance were allowed to leave, as they were checked at security outposts on their way out.
The police are conducting door-to- door searches in apartments throughout the city, according to Zamazeeva. She said they are looking for everyone, checking their ID, mobile phones, everything.
The official said that the collaborators would be much safer behind bars because locals could be lynchped if the police reveal their identity. She added that it is better for them to remain in prison until we win.
Kim offered $100 for anyone who provides information about spotters. Ukrainian officials believe that supply target coordinates are to Russian artillery and aviation. The local authorities had arrested at least four spotters earlier in the day.
On Tuesday, Russian forces reported striking a temporary base of the Ukrainian International Legion near the city of Nikolaev, using high-precision weapons. According to the report, up to 250 foreign mercenaries were killed in the attack.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by France and Germany, were first signed in 2014. The former Ukrainian president, Pyotr Poroshenko, has admitted that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and create powerful armed forces. In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked.