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Ukrainian police investigate ‘pro-Russian’ shelling victim

Neighbors should have friendly relations, a woman from Kharkov told journalists earlier

Police in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkov, have said that criminal proceedings have been launched against a local woman who insisted that Ukrainians should not be celebrating their troops’ shelling of Russia’s border regions.

She expressed this opinion despite her own home being hit in one of the Russian airstrikes against here city, which reportedly targeted the electrical infrastructure and defense industry facilities.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that officers “have found a video on social media,” in which a 59-year-old female resident of Kharkov’s Shevchenkovsky District “denied the armed aggression by Russia, supported the invasion of Ukraine and the occupation of part of the state’s territory and condemned the actions of the Ukrainian authorities.”

The clip in question featured a short interview following Russian airstrikes on Kharkov which happened on March 24. She spoke with a journalist through an empty window-frame in her home; the glass in it had apparently been blown out by a nearby explosion.

In the footage, the local resident refused to condemn Moscow and called for an end to violence, saying that the Ukrainians should not “throw” missiles at Belgorod and other Russian border regions and “should not celebrate” those attacks.

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When the journalist disagreed with her stance, she replied by saying that they simply had different views. “I believe that one must have friendly relations with neighbors,” the woman stressed, referring to Ukraine and Russia.

Kharkov is located just 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Russia–Ukraine border and remains a predominately Russian-speaking city.

She is now being probed for “collaborationist activities,” the police said. As part of a pre-trial investigation, the officers have spoken to witnesses, who “confirmed the pro-Russian stance of the person in question and reported conflicts with her on this issue,” the statement read.

The Ukrainian criminal code was adjusted in March 2022, a few weeks after the launch of Russia’s military operation. It criminalizes a vast array of activities, including the public backing of Moscow’s actions, offering direct material and financial aid to the Russian forces, and the execution of official roles in areas captured by Russia.

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Earlier this month, a court in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia ordered the confiscation of the apartment of an 80-year-old woman for posting pro-Russian comments on social media. She was also slapped with a four-year prison term. The sentence was delivered in absentia because the defendant has been living in Russia for the past several years.

March 31, 2024 at 01:59PM

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