Two Ukrainian women, Iulia Brailko and Marharyta Subotina, were deported for exposing the sham referendums Russia held at the end of September. Their story came to light in a post by Ukrainian journalist Iryna Romaliyska.
During the illegal referendums, the women filmed the members of the so-called “election commission” entering the local residents’ yards and posted these photos to the local public groups on social media.
“Voting” in the staged “referendum” in the region was held under conditions of zero privacy, with armed Russian soldiers accompanying the “commissions” walking from door to door. There have been reports of Ukrainians being detained for voting “no.”
The Russian occupiers identified the pro-Ukrainian activist women and came to their homes with searches. They found a laptop belonging to one of the women containing files with footage of the movement of Russian military equipment that, ostensibly, the woman had been sending to the Ukrainian Army.
Russian invaders detained both women despite no proof of the other woman gathering data on military movements. They were both detained for two weeks in the so-called “police office”.
Russian occupiers accused the detainees of “discrediting” the occupiers and “destabilizing the socio-political situation”. The punishment was deportation. So last week, the Ukrainian activists were taken with bags over their heads to Vasylivka settlement, the only possible way to leave the occupied territories of southern Ukraine.
The women were preparing to be shot when they saw a trench behind them. But the occupiers let them go, threatening to shoot them in 20 minutes if they saw their backs. Later locals explained to just-released Ukrainians that Russian occupiers directed them to minefields. Locals evacuated them to Zaporizhzhia city, under Ukrainian control. Now they are safe and settled in a dormitory, yet have to start their life from scratch after being deported from their home.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry expressed its serious concern over the visit of the Russian delegation from the annexed Crimea to Türkiye and asked Türkiye to clarify its position on the matter.
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