September 27, 2023, 16:05

Documentarians record over 130 incidents of occupiers’ arresting and detaining representatives of local authorities

Representatives of local self-government and authorities are one of the most vulnerable categories of the civilian population in the occupied territories, as they are persecuted by the occupation forces. For example, ZMINA Human Rights Center documentaries have recorded more than 130 incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention of representatives of local authorities and self-government. Most of such cases were observed in Kherson, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv regions.

Borys Petruniok, researcher and documentarian at ZMINA Human Rights Center, made this statement during an event at the country’s main discussion platform BrainHub in Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

According to him, a large number of such cases of detention were recorded in the first months of the occupation, in March-April 2022. However, later this practice still persisted.

Borys Petruniok explained that the occupiers see the heads of communities, local deputies and representatives of local administrations as the main source of information about the situation in the community: the population composition, the defense forces in the region, the situation with infrastructure, transport, public utilities, etc.

“Representatives of local self-government carry major social capital, that is, they have social connections in the community, they have connections with business, with representatives of law enforcement agencies, etc., and this is also a resource for representatives of occupation administrations. And the most important thing is that the representatives of the authorities, local self-government have the legitimate right to exercise power – they were elected in these communities or they were appointed to these positions before the start of hostilities, therefore they are a target for the occupation forces. And it is only from this perspective that we should evaluate their inclination to cooperate with the occupation troops or similar incidents,” he added.

Summarizing, he noted that such cases should not be considered in vacuum or separated from each other, since this is an attack by the occupying troops on local communities, local infrastructure and institutions of these communities, an attack on the connections between people and on the functioning of these communities. The russian federation and the occupation administrations pursue their large-scale goals of establishing control over the occupied territories in this way.

BrainHub is the country’s main discussion platform created by Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. It brings together experts from the state and civil society sectors. BrainHub hosts intellectual discussions around the issues of the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It’s the birthplace of the best ideas that will become the foundation for the road map of Ukraine’s reconstruction in all sectors: economy, infrastructure, education, agriculture, security, digital, etc.

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