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Russians force Ukrainian volunteers to post fake support messages

It has been reported that Russians have captured or coerced some Ukrainian volunteers, who were providing humanitarian aid and have a sizable following on social media, to post fake messages of support for Russia on their accounts.

One such volunteer is 25-year old Aleksey, who used to run a burger bistro in Kherson in southern Ukraine.

“Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, he started working as a volunteer. He drove medicine, food and bread, which was baked at his friend’s bakery, to those who were in need. Aleksey had to close his burger business, and he focused solely on volunteering, and posted stories of his activities on Instagram. There were photos, films, and stories. He posted daily. Suddenly, he stopped posting,” said Aleksey’s friend who lives in Tricity on the Baltic coast, in northern Poland. Aleksey’s friend was speaking to the Polish Press Agency (PAP)

On Saturday, a new post appeared on Aleksy’s Instagram account, which is followed by over 5,500 people. The post read: “We won’t distribute anything anymore! I am happy that we are with Russia, because only with Russia can we feel safe!”

Alleged coercion and withholding of humanitarian aid

On the same day, in the afternoon, a post on Telegram in a group providing news from the Kherson region, claimed that Russians had seized 14 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, despite the knowledge that the city has been experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe, and kidnapped the volunteer, Aleksey P. The post claims that Russians withheld humanitarian aid on purpose to force the citizens of Kherson to accept aid from Russia.

“They want to repeat Holodomor and genocide to film it and later show it on TV (how Russia provides humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine). They kidnap volunteers, journalists, and members of their families,” claimed one user in a Telegram post.

PAP contacted Aleksey by phone on Sunday. Aleksey stated: “I cannot comment on anything. I have not been kidnapped by anyone. If I could comment, I would do it, but I cannot”.

Aleksey’s friend from Kherson stated in a conversation with PAP: “We all know what has happened. They want to introduce Russkij mir [Russian order]. We are not stupid enough to think that Aleksey suddenly fell in love with Russia, when the day before he was helping the inhabitants of Kherson.”

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