‘They’re Dressed Like You and Me’ – In Kyiv, Home to Large Russian Minority, Volunteers Hunt ‘Saboteurs’

A Ukrainian serviceman checks on a man who was acting suspicious not far from the positions on Ukraine's service members in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022. - Russia on February 26 ordered its troops to advance in Ukraine "from all directions" as the Ukrainian capital Kyiv imposed a blanket …

As the Ukraine war rages on, armed local volunteers in the country’s capital of Kyiv have been hunting Russian “saboteurs”.

The hunt for saboteurs is on in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, as local volunteers, many of whom are armed with weapons they are reportedly unsure how to use, prepare to defend their city from Russian forces.

A strict curfew has been imposed on the capital — home to a sizeable Russian minority — with Mayor Vitali Klitschko warning that anyone caught outside between 5 p.m. today and 8 a.m. on Monday would be considered “members of the enemy’s sabotage and reconnaissance groups”.

However, it appears that it is not just curfew-breakers being targeted as potential saboteurs, with a reporter for The Times describing one instance where three men suspected of working with the Russians were held at gunpoint.

“Saboteurs,” one policeman reportedly sneered as fighters rifled through the group’s possessions. “Maybe Russian.”

The British newspaper of record’s report goes on to note how the fear of Russian spies has spread like a virus through the population, with reports of possible infiltrators spreading like wildfire through online chat groups and social media.

“There’s saboteurs around here. They’re dressed like you, they’re dressed like me,” said one member of law enforcement. “We’re looking for them. We found some this morning.”

“I’ve heard they’re everywhere,” another person — a young woman — told the publication. “They come and talk to you and ask you simple things, then try to attack you. Or they dress like normal people and go around in the city looking for targets.”

Meanwhile, videos have reportedly emerged online of captured individuals alleged to be saboteurs, with the paper claiming many in the online posts are speaking under duress.

Despite the chaos, Ukrainian officials have said the public fear of Russian infiltration is justified, with the Deputy Minister of Defence reporting one instance of Russian troops allegedly dressing up as Ukrainian fighters penetrating the city centre, before being killed by local forces.

As Russia penetrates further and further into the former Soviet Socialist Republic, Ukrainian officials have been looking to employ ever more drastic measures to repel the invading forces.

The government has been handing out weapons to the citizenry to “defend the country”, while gun ownership laws have also been relaxed significantly to get more firearms in the hands of civilians.

Meanwhile, the country has also been rallying its population to make Molotov cocktails and aid the national defence.

Weapons have also been flooding in from abroad, with Germany making a notable U-turning on its previous refusal to send weapons to the war-torn region.

“The Russian attack marks a turning point. It is our duty to do our best to help Ukraine defend against the invading army of Putin,” Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote online.

“That’s why we’re supplying 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to our friends in the Ukraine,” he added.

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