Suspected collaborators in captured Russian city of Kherson face public punishment and execution with western media banned from region
Kherson residents suspected of collaborating with Russia allegedly face public punishment, as seen in photographs released by The Associated Press (AP). Ukrainian forces took over the city last week, after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
The news agency published pictures of two individuals tied to posts. A group of civilians and at least one soldier can be seen next to them.
According to the AP description, the people were “alleged collaborators.” It didn’t explain how the punishment had come about. Pillorying is not part of the Ukrainian legal system but has been used by nationalists in the country in recent years.
The provincial capital of Kherson Region has been under Russian control since the first days of the offensive. Last month, Russia incorporated the province after a referendum. Kiev rejected the vote as a “sham” and continued military action in the west of the region.
Last week, the Russian military left the port city along with other parts of the region on the right bank of the Dnieper River, saying that taking a better defensive position would save soldiers’ lives.
Regional authorities spent weeks urging civilians to leave Kherson, citing the threat from Ukrainian forces and possible attacks on the city, should it become a battleground.
Tens of thousands left, but last week, city administration head Aleksandr Kobets estimated that some 80,000 to 100,000 people remained there.
Images published by AP and other news organizations showed crowds welcoming Ukrainian troops in Kherson. However, covering the situation poses challenges for the media, since the Ukrainian Defense Ministry banned them from going there freely. Kiev said it needed to conduct “stabilization activities.”
On Sunday, the ministry released a blacklist of those, who had ignored the warning. Journalists working for CNN and Sky News were reportedly among those who lost their press accreditation.
“Recently, some media representatives… carried out professional activities in the city of Kherson even before the completion of stabilization measures……Work permits of the media representatives, who violated the rules of work in the combat areas, had been canceled and their press cards are recognized as not valid any more,” Ukraine’s General Staff said in a Facebook post.
In July, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) criticized Ukraine over “abuses” against foreign and local journalists, saying that thousands of them had “difficulties gaining access to certain places and difficulties filming or taking photos, and even are occasionally detained.” The group cited an unnamed media worker, who claimed that “the Ukrainian authorities see foreign journalists as influence relays rather than information vehicles.” The RSF acknowledged that restrictions linked to national security were legitimate, but insisted that Kiev had been applying them disproportionately.