Psychological, physical pressure imposed on Ukrainians at Russian border checkpoints – State Border Guard Service
Citizens of Ukraine, who under various circumstances are compelled to make frequent trips to Russia, complain of psychological and even physical pressure from the law enforcement agencies of the aggressor state, according to the press secretary of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Oleh Slobodian.
He noted that the Russian special services keep records of citizens of Ukraine, who regularly travel to the Russian Federation, in a border guards’ database "Kaskad-Potok."
According to the Ukrainian official, it’s the people who constantly cross the Ukrainian-Russian border in private affairs; those who have relatives in border regions of Russia, and owners of Russian registration plates for vehicles are facing the highest risk.
As the Kaskad-Potok database identifies the person of interest, Russian border guards seize their Ukrainian passport and report to the supervisors or initiators of a database entry, Slobodian wrote, adding that after a following questioning by the special services, Ukrainian citizens are intimidated and threatened to be banned from entry to Russia. Sometimes there are cases of money extortion. The basic questions the citizens are asked relate to the personal involvement or participation in the ATO (or that of their relatives), social and political situation in Ukraine, and possible cooperation with the SBU Security Service of Ukraine.
Lawyer Ivan Pavlov: "In Russia, everything related to Ukraine has been politicized. I believe, they can even find some political overtones in a word "Borshch"The Russian intelligence also seize and check the contents of cellphones.
According to Slobodian, Ukrainian border guards learned from the Ukrainian citizens, who had been detained in Russia, of repeated attempts by the FSB to persuade them to cooperate or confess to collecting intelligence in favor of Ukraine. Many of them complained over the use of physical force against them, in particular to make them confessed to crimes they never committed (e.g., theft).
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine once again recommended the Ukrainian citizens to refrain from traveling to Russia.