An FSB whistleblower claims that the Kremlin is planning to kidnap the people of Kherson and take them across Russia’s border in order to unleash “great terror” on the city.
According to a letter reportedly signed by a member of Russia’s domestic security service, the Kremlin is no longer ready to “play nicely” with demonstrators in the Ukrainian city, where residents have taken to the streets every day in defiance of their occupiers.
Individuals will be abducted from their houses during the night.
“Even if we have to deport as many as half the city — we are ready for that,” the letter said.
Kherson, which has a population of around 280,000 people and is located 60 miles northwest of the Crimean border, fell in the first week of the invasion. It is the only significant population center in Ukraine that Russian forces have completely occupied.
Residents have protested the occupation, singing chants such as “Russians go home” and “Kherson is Ukraine.”
There are still protests in Liberty Square, where the Ukrainian flag still flies from the city council building, to show the country’s resolve to fight back. According to the whistleblower, territories controlled by Russian forces had practically entered a condition of “permanent rebellion.”
“If it were possible to identify protest leaders, they would have been liquidated already,” the letter said. “Protesters are saved only by the fact that it is unclear who exactly needs to be captured. There are also fears that a move to violence may end in a real riot, which could only be suppressed by large-scale fighting.”
Nonetheless, the whistleblower said that a solution had been ordered “from the very top” in the last few days.
A “great terror,” coordinated by the security agencies, would strive to limit protest by using “extremely strict methods of dispersal,” including “severe injury” to individual demonstrators. After the demonstrators were scared off the streets, the second phase of “door-to-door terror” would begin, with residents kidnapped and taken abroad.
Vladimir Osechkin, a Russian human rights activist who runs the anti-corruption website Gulagu.net, published the letter on March 21.
It is the 11th letter allegedly authored by the same FSB insider identified only by his alias Wind of Change. Earlier letters were verified as real by Russian security experts.
Although the FSB is officially a domestic security force, it also has jurisdiction over countries in the former Soviet Union.
On Monday, many protestors were reported injured in Kherson after Russian soldiers opened fire to clear a mob of several hundred people from the major square.
People were seen fleeing amid a hail of gunshots and tear gas bursts in videos. Another unconfirmed video showed two Russian soldiers kicking a protester in the head and abdomen.
Protesters were undeterred and took to the streets again on Tuesday. According to videos, Russian forces retaliated with tear gas grenades and warning bullets.
Serhiy Rodionov, 45, a local who was among those protesting, told The Times that more Russian soldiers were waiting for them than on previous days.
Image Credit: Getty
You were reading: Leaked doc shows Putin is no longer willing to ‘play nicely’ in Ukraine