Threatening letters from a pro-Russian group that calls itself the “Kharkiv Partisans” have started appearing in the mailboxes of community activists, volunteers, and journalists in Kharkiv. According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), this is a subversive group that organizes explosions near military units and train tracks in the Kharkiv region. To counter these terrorists, Kharkiv patriots have created a civic territorial defense organization for the Kharkiv Oblast.
One of the volunteers in Kharkiv, who asked not to be named citing fears for her safety, confirmed the threats.
“There was an envelope with a card with a “Kharkiv Partisan” logo and text that said ‘we will come after all the Nazi filth.’ I know that several of my friends have received similar threats as well,” she said. The volunteer said she fears for her family and that is why she made them leave Kharkiv. She turned over the threatening letter to the local SBU office.
Meanwhile, the SBU central office reports that attempts have been made to organize terrorist attacks in Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Dnipropetrovsk, and that these cities are consistently in the zone of interest of Russian special services.
“Kharkiv and Odesa were literally on the verge of joining Donetsk and Luhansk. The security forces had an extremely difficult time controlling the situation, said SBU chief investigator Vasyl Vovk.
According to Vovk, the “Putin terrorists” are especially interested in Odesa and Kharkiv. He believes that, in addition to organizing terrorist acts, they can enflame the situation by stirring up demonstrations and causing street riots.
A protest against government officials with foreign passports was recently planned by an organization that calls itself Kharkiv Labor and is known for its Soviet and pro-Russian views. Its leader, Pavlo Tyshchenko, explained they “wanted to express our strong protest, following the provisions of the Constitution and hoping that we have a law-abiding democratic state.”
However, Tyshchenko said municipal authorities banned the protest, citing the fact that any protests now could be very dangerous for the community.
Meanwhile, oblast authorities and a number of civic organizations of the Kharkiv Euromaidan urge people not to believe gossip in social networks or “word of mouth” because Russian FSB ( intelligence) agents are actively distributing false information.
Organizers of the People’s Territorial Defense of Kharkiv stress that all information must be verified. It is precisely “resistance to Russia’s informational aggression” that is one of the key objectives of the group, they say. In addition, the activists plan to join the police patrols that monitor public order in crowded places and near strategic military assets.
Ihor Rosokha, one of the organizers of the People’s Territorial Defense of Kharkiv, explained the group’s objectives. “Our task is not to take the place of military or government authorities,” he said. “Our task is to mobilize society to repel possible aggression, to maintain peace in our region. This organization brings together those groups that are protecting our homeland. Of course we need to coordinate our efforts and work together with government institutions in defending Kharkiv and the oblast.”
Representatives at the Kharkiv Oblast Administration say they are establishing a group consisting of staff members and representatives of civic organizations that will be responsible for developing new measures to protect the Kharkiv region from Russian aggression.