“This equipment is for monitoring the conversations and online activities of Mariupol residents. These towers and booths,” reads the caption of the corresponding video showcasing the surveillance equipment.
The video was shared by Petro Andryushchenko, the advisor to the city's exiled mayor, via Telegram on Thursday, Sept. 28.
“These towers also facilitate communication for the (Russian) military,” Andryushchenko said.
Over the past three months, 40 of the towers have been erected across all districts of the city, he said.
“Total control in action. Old fellow Orwell would be astounded at how all his fiction has become the reality of Mariupol,” Andryushchenko said.
At the end of June, the mayor's advisor said in a Telegram post that mobile communication in the occupied city remains a significant challenge.
Andryushchenko cautioned Mariupol residents who have started using “Phoenix” mobile operator cards that the Russians are eavesdropping.
“Officially, the occupiers distribute ‘Phoenix’ cards. In reality, individuals associated with local collaborators are selling them for 450 hryvnias each.”
“Every conversation you have is an open book. Every careless word poses a risk to individuals in Mariupol. Do not jeopardize your loved ones' safety!” Andryushchenko said.
From the beginning of March 2022, shortly after the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Mariupol was under relentless siege before coming under full Russian occupation in the second half of May. Russian forces, after gaining control of Mariupol and its surrounding region, established the city as a heavily fortified military stronghold.
Reports of sabotage activities by Ukrainian partisans in the area have become increasingly frequent, however, with many of them focused on disrupting concentrations of Russian troops and their equipment.
It is likely that the Russian military is attempting to hinder the operations of an active partisan movement in the city, which is working to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
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