Russian-installed governments in conquered Ukrainian territories are threatening to introduce death sentences to quell any resistance movement, local officials say.
More than 60% of the southern Zaporizhzhia region is occupied by Russia, including the city of Enerhodar, which includes Europe's biggest nuclear power plant.
The pro-Russian government is shifting strategies to counter the resistance movement in the region, intensifying searches of homes, adding street patrols and threatening to punish convictions with death, the Ukrainian-elected Zaporizhzhia government said on its official Telegram account. The penalty has already been reintroduced in the ''people's republics'' of Donetsk and Luhansk in the East.
''But the Ukrainian resistance movement keeps working,'' Zaporizhzhia Gov. Oleksandr Starukh said. ''Russians, on the other hand, are also fighting each other for power and control of business in the region.''
Another strategy is forced assimilation into the Russian Federation. Earlier in June, the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti reported that anyone born in the region after Feb. 24, the start of the invasion, will automatically receive Russian citizenship.
A member of the pro-Russian Zaporizhzhia government, Volodymyr Rohov, made the announcement following an identical move by Kyrylo Stremousov, head of the similarly aligned government in Kherson.
In May, the Ukrainian-elected Zaporizhzhia government reported on another strategy to break the local resistance, particularly in the city of Melitopol, importing so-called whisperers who are members of Russian security forces that blend in with the civilian population. Their task is to influence public opinion in Melitopol.
''They try to spread damaging messages like: 'Ukraine gave up Melitopol at the start of the war and that's why there was no evacuation or compensation.'' 'When Melitopol is liberated, the city will be bombed to pieces,''' read a message from the local government.
The Ukrainian Melitopol government speculates that this strategy exists to undermine Ukraine's authority and make the rebellious populace work with Russia's occupational authorities.
The reports come following the destruction of a railroad bridge in Melitopol, a key supply route for Russian troops in the city. The Special Operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on the destruction of the bridge on their Facebook page and credited local resistance fighters for the sabotage operation.
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