People in a retaken Ukrainian town had their phones checked to see if they had collaborated with Russia, report says

  • Locals of a retaken Ukrainian town reportedly had their phones checked for any signs of collaboration with Russian occupiers.

  • Residents of Shevchenkove lined up outside of a police station to have their phones checked days after the town was reclaimed, CNN reported.

  • In recent days, Ukrainian forces reclaimed large swaths of territory from Russian occupation.

Residents of a Ukrainian town that's been newly reclaimed from Russian occupation in a counteroffensive amid Moscow's war with the country have reportedly had their phones checked for any evidence of collaboration with the Kremlin's forces.

Days after Ukrainian forces took back the Kharkiv settlement of Shevchenkove, locals of the largely deserted small town in northeastern Ukraine lined up outside of a police station so that authorities could check whether they had collaborated with the Russian occupiers, CNN reported on Thursday.

Police in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, refused to say what would happen to anyone suspected of working with Russian troops, according to the news outlet, which reported that Ukrainian officials have threatened criminal sanctions for those who have collaborated with the occupiers.

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A woman from the town, which had been occupied by Russian forces since the beginning of the nearly seven-month-long war, said she was racked with guilt over how she had to take food given out by the Russians.

"We couldn't buy anything in the shops," 73-year-old Larisa Kharkivska told CNN. "And we couldn't get money because the banks were closed, so we had to stand there like beggars."

Kharkivska said she and her daughter were "terrified to go outside" their home to the sights of Russian soldiers parading around with automatic weapons.

"We survived, thank God, we survived! But it was very frightening. We just hope they never come back," said Kharkivska.

In recent days, Ukrainian forces reclaimed territory in the Kharkiv region from Russian occupation in a lightning-fast counteroffensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that "stabilization measures" were being carried out in the reclaimed land.

"Remnants of occupiers and sabotage groups are being detected, collaborators are being detained and full security is being restored," said Zelenskyy.

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