The Federal Security Service of Russia is forcing citizens living in the temporarily occupied Crimea to illegally gather personal data on pro-Ukrainian residents of the peninsula for the purpose of their further persecution, the SBU Security Service of Ukraine reports. "SBU counterintelligence operatives established that FSB agents are forcing citizens living in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to consent to undercover cooperation. The main task set is to gather data on pro-Ukrainian residents of the peninsula," the report reads. It is noted that such proposals are primarily received by staffers of local internet provider firms. They are required to illegally gather personal data and report on the content people distribute in social networks, and other private user data.
"The data are then used by the Russian security officials to persecute local residents disloyal to the occupation authorities and Russian policies in general," the SBU said. "At the same time, methods applied by the FSB in relation to local residents are identical to those that applied to some of our compatriots visiting the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This is blackmail, threats, intimidation, physical and psychological pressure, and setting up compromising situations." Counterintelligence also found that a "representative of the FSB, a former SBU officer Dmytro Karelin, who in 2014 deflected and took the enemy side" was actively involved in said efforts. The SBU reminds that turning coat amid martial law or during an armed conflict, as well as espionage, providing assistance to a foreign government, foreign organization, or their representatives in carrying out subversion against Ukraine, entails 10 to 15 years in prison. Persons shall be exempted of liability if, once being recruited by foreign intelligence, refused to fulfill their tasks and reported to Ukraine law enforcement. As UNIAN reported previously, a Crimean judge was sentenced to 12 years in prison for recognizing Ukrainian Defense Ministry's assets Russian property.