The Institute for the Study of War draws attention to one broadcast of Komsomolskaya Pravda. In a radio appearance, a journalist called for repression and violence against Ukrainian partisans and civilians who refuse to cooperate with the Russian-substituted authorities in the occupied territories.
In its latest report published on Sunday, the think tank drew attention to a statement made by journalist Sergey Mardan in the pro-Kremlin Komsomolskaya Pravda. In an interview with an unnamed representative of the occupation authorities, Mardan “encouraged an unnamed occupation authority that he interviewed on his show to recreate gulags (the notorious Soviet prison/labour camp system), confiscate private property, and shoot local teachers and partisans for refusing to cooperate with Russian-appointed authorities,” ISW reported. The statement, which was described by the think tank, Mardan had made on the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio programme.
A play on emotions
In the report, the US think tank reiterated its previous opinion that the Russian military is most likely using the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine to play on Western countries’ fears of a nuclear disaster. ISW thus commented on accusations by the Ukrainian authorities – denied by the Russians – of dangerous shelling at the plant.
According to the opposition Russian news outlet, Russian forces are storing explosives and ammunition around the nuclear plant, ISW points out.
Preparations for annexation
Describing the situation on the frontline, the institute reported that Russian forces had carried out limited ground attacks north-west of Slovyansk, located in the Donetsk region, and east and south of Bakhmut, 40km away. They undertook several ground attacks, attempting to break the Ukrainian defence line north, west and south of Donetsk. In the south of Ukraine, the Russians were conducting defensive operations.
“Ongoing Ukrainian partisan activity and civilian resistance are frustrating Russian occupation forces as Russian occupation authorities continue to prepare for the integration of occupied territories into the Russian Federation,” assesses the think tank.
Preparations for the annexation of occupied territories are underway at the same time, it notes.