Russian proxies imposed additional restrictions on civilians in the occupied territories and intensified counterintelligence efforts ahead of the anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive, the New York Times reported.
According to Ukraine’s military high command cited in the article, Russian proxies are restricting travel between towns and villages for civilians.
The counterintelligence units also increased their activities in identifying partisans to prevent information leaks to the Ukrainian military.
“Undercover Russian security officers have also started working in crowded public spaces to track down members of the Ukrainian resistance, according to the National Resistance Center, a Ukrainian government agency,” according to the article.
The intensified pressure likely stems from previous partisan activity in the occupied territories. On April 24, Ukrainian partisans reportedly blew up a Russian checkpoint in occupied Kherson Oblast.
These developments follow Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's decree allowing the deportation of Ukrainians in occupied territories who refuse to take Russian citizenship.
Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk urged Ukrainians not to take Russian passports, writing, “do not take Russian passports, do not cooperate with the occupiers, leave if possible, wait for the Armed Forces."