Nemtsov-ideated “Putin. War” report presented in Ukraine

On 27 May Ilia Yashyn, Russian opposition politician, Head of RPR PARNAS party Moscow bureau presented in Kyiv “Putin. War” report ideated by his colleague Boris Nemtsov.

The 65 pages in hardcopy have Russian citizens as their primary target audience, says Yashyn. “We tried to collect proof of Putin’s lies on Russian military presence in Ukraine,” he adds saying that Nemtsov was a patriot of Russia and truly loved Ukraine. He saw the current military conflict in Ukraine’s East as personal tragedy and sought to present the truth to Russians.

The report named similarly to a popular anti-Putin slogan comprises 16 chapters compiled by a team of Russian journalists and activists based on information from open sources and testimonies. It focuses on evidence of Russian presence – in terms of troops and weapons in eastern Ukraine.

“Putin. War” report has several testimonies of Russian servicemen who fought in Ukraine. To widen the picture analysis the expert team conducted shows that military enlistment offices at local level in Russia recruit mercenaries for fighting in Donbas.

“Despite it’s obvious that Russian military equipment is present in Ukraine it was quite hard for us to find the proof. Most often separatists use military equipment that is also in service with Ukrainian army,” explains Yashyn. But they did find proof. Tornado-S multiple rocket launcher systems are purely Russian-produced and have never been exported. Yashyn shows a photo from the report capturing Pantsyr S1surface-to-air missile system on the move in occupied Luhansk. Though this system was sold internationally it could have come in Ukraine only by crossing the Russian border as no other country currently having it in service borders on Ukraine, says Yashyn.

Entire chapter of the report is dedicated to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The opposition party member emphasizes on how Putin’s rhetoric on Crimea occupation has changed – it evolved from saying these were local self-defense forces in the very beginning of the conflict to accepting it was Russian spetsnaz operating on the peninsula under Putin’s command, a version broadcast on Russia’s state TV a year after.

Chapter with the self-explanatory title “How much does the war with Ukraine cost” quotes numbers on how much this war costs to Russia in terms of sanctions and Russia’s anti-sanctions in return.

“Our target is to have this report spread in Russian society, it must reach those who watch TV and believe Putin,” explains Yashyn. “It’s educational work. We do not expect quick results. We also realize that volunteers who will distribute it might get under attack or pressure,” he continues.

The report is currently available in Russian in the Internet, where according to Yashyn 400 thousand people have already checked it since 12 May when it was released.

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