Russia state-run TV program advocates for public hangings in occupied Ukrainian cities

Russia state-run TV program advocates for public hangings in occupied Ukrainian cities

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Russian state-run media pundits have been discussing the possibility of hanging Ukrainian people in cities that have been overrun and occupied by Russian troops since the invasion began on Feb. 24. 

During a Sunday show broadcast on Russia-1, a state-owned Russian television channel, one pundit advocated for public hangings through a military tribunal once Russia’s dominance is established in certain areas of Ukraine. The journalist, whose name was not initially reported, cited the “special military operation” in Ukraine, a term pushed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as an attempt to justify the invasion to the Russian populous by claiming troops must liberate the Ukrainian people from the Ukrainian government run by neo-Nazis. 

“I would restore the death penalty by hanging through military tribunal,” the pundit, speaking Russian, said, according to a translated quote by Newsweek. “There are people in Ukraine who threaten Russian citizens and create a threat for us. … In my view, this is of utmost importance.”

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According to The Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, who shared the clip of the Russian broadcast to Twitter on Sunday, other pundits later agreed with the idea of hanging dissidents, and one noted constitutions for the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) permit the death penalty. 

Before launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Putin recognized two Moscow-allegiant breakaways in the Donbas and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine as independent republics. 

Kherson Regional Council member Sergey Khlan warned on Facebook on Saturday that occupying Russian troops were laying plans to establish a Moscow-allegiant Kherson People’s Republic, but he and other council members were refusing to cooperate. Kherson, a city of strategic importance due to its posts and access to the Black Sea, was the first major Ukrainian city to fall on March 2. 

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba warned on Sunday that Ukrainian mayors had been captured as Russian occupying troops are targeting democratically elected Ukrainian politicians. 

Kuleba said Russian “war criminals” abducted Yevhen Matveyev, mayor of Dniprorudne, a city in the Vasylivka Raion of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The announcement came a day it was revealed that Ivan Fedorov, mayor of the nearby city of Melitopol, was abducted on March 11. 

Fedorov, who had been encouraging resistance and protests and had been providing Ukrainians with lists of where to still buy food and medicine, was approached by a group of 10 “occupiers,” who put a plastic bag on the mayor’s head in Melitopol’s crisis center, according to Ukrainian Parliament.

The fourth round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian dignitaries were underway Monday.

Citing an unnamed European intelligence official, Bloomberg News had reported on March 3 that Russia’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, was making plans to eventually carry out public executions in captured Ukrainian cities. Fox News had not independently verified that information. 

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Clips from Sunday’s broadcast included historic footage of past public hangings, possibly as a way to desensitize the Russian people from atrocities against Ukrainian civilians. 

Later on, a different pundit said to “never let morality prevent you from undertaking correct actions.”

“I understand the importance of a humanitarian component,” the woman said, speaking from inside the television studio, “But morality shouldn’t get in the way.”

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Putin has said he aimed to achieve the “de-militarization” and “de-nazification” of Ukraine, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust. 

It’s part of a propaganda war the West says the Kremlin has been waging as anti-war protests have broken out in several Russian cities. Millions of Russians have relatives in Ukraine. 

The broadcast also discussed allegations brought by Putin that U.S.-backed Ukrainian laboratories near the border were creating bioweapons – claims Zelenskyy, the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department have all unequivocally denied. NATO warned Sunday that Russian troops could begin using chemical weapons in Ukraine and doing so would constitute a war crime.