Assassination Attempt on Psuedo Mayor Fails

There’s a lot of movement in Mariupol from both the Ukrainian and Russian military, as well as from the citizens themselves.

Earlier this week, the Russian-occupied Mariupol was stirred up by the locals as Moscow-appointed Konstantin Ivaschenko continued to be its interim mayor. As a response, people “wanted to blow” him up.

Ivaschenko was appointed the mayor of the Azov Sea port on April 6 by Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin, so he was not necessarily the public’s favorite. But as bombardment and close attacks continued to happen around the region, the locals were growing tired of the “fake government” and initiated their plan of action. Though it failed, it shows the level of unrest within Russian-occupied cities and towns. Russia has seized multiple towns, including the Donbas region of Luhansk.

The assassination attempt on Ivaschenko when he visited the zoo. A device was allegedly placed at the entrance, and the bomb would be triggered as soon as Ivaschenko entered the gate. The attempt was reported via Telegram on Russian state TV, saying, “an explosive device was planted at the entrance of Mariupol Zoo, and went off at the moment the official arrived.” The announcement added that Ivaschenko was not injured.

After the event, an aide to the city’s Ukrainian mayor Vadym Boychenko, Petro Andryushchenko, released a statement somewhat claiming the attack.

“Unfortunately, it was not very successful. But this is only a beginning.”

Russian Concentration Camps in Ukraine

Speaking of beginnings, Russia’s also doubling down its forces in Mariupol; as noted, “Putin-controlled volunteers” were sent to the city to bring civilians to “filtration camps” for independent investigations. According to an independent Ukrainian investigative journalism outlet, Russian platoons were seen traveling around the city. The platoon was reportedly led by Dmitriy Sablin, a Russian Duma (Parliament) member. Sablin and his troops are assisting Russian occupying forces in bringing the city’s residents into camps to allegedly help them evacuate.

A photo was posted on social media showing a dilapidated building with several men in blue and red sweatshirts holding a “volunteer company and Young Guard” insignia.

“The caption indicates that the photo was taken in Mariupol. People wearing similar blue [signalling affiliation with Young Guard – ed.] and red [signalling affiliation with Volunteer company – ed.] clothes can be seen in numerous photos and videos from Mariupol which these two organisations have shared on social media.

The Young Guard is Putin’s youth wing party. Its members produce social media videos and photos showing their activities like chopping wood, handing out bread to other people, and allegedly assisting in the evacuation. However, Petro Andriushchenko, Adviser to the Mayor of Mariupol, said that these so-called volunteers are not helping people evacuate. Instead, they’re forcing people out of their homes, boarding them in busses, and taking them to filtration camps.

Last month, it was reported by the US intelligence assessment that there are a dozen of these filtration camps in Eastern Ukraine.

“The filtration process includes temporary detention, data collection, interrogation, and in some cases abuse of detainees, and takes place in a variety of temporary processing centers — often in parallel with internally displaced persons and refugee processing,” according to the assessment.

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Russia has yet to release a statement clarifying the purpose of the filtration camps. However, there are three possible scenarios for those who were caught in filtration camps:

“Those who are deemed nonthreatening may be issued documentation and permitted to remain in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, or in some cases forcefully deported to Russia,” the agency reported. “Others deemed less threatening, but still potentially resistant to Russian occupation, face forcible deportation to Russia and are subject to additional screening. Those deemed most threatening during the filtration process, particularly anyone with affiliation to the military or security services, probably are detained in prisons in eastern Ukraine and Russia, though little is known about their fates.”

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky calls for immediate action as more abuses are reported in these detention centers (including executions).

“Young women disappear there,” he said. “I think you all understand what is happening with them there.”

As a response, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Russia to immediately close these centers saying the process is an “unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons” and that it breaches the “Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and is a war crime.”

“Eyewitnesses and survivors of ‘filtration’ operations, detentions and forced deportations report frequent threats, harassment and incidents of torture by Russian security forces,” Mr. Blinken said in a statement.