From today's Telegraph.
As the battle for the south heats up, paranoia and suspicion are everywhere
|There is an intense sense of suspicion in the south these days.|
As the battle here heats up, fears about Russian saboteurs have surged.
Mr Zelensky last month fired the head of the SBU, Ukraine’s security service, over allegations the agency had been infiltrated.
Last week, an official in Odesa told me they are worried that Russia will use grain export boats that have recently begun sailing again as a Trojan horse to sneak into the Black Sea city.
When The Telegraph first arrived in the south around two weeks ago, we were held by police for hours due to questions about what we were intending to do in the region.
Despite having all of our paperwork in order, we had to empty out our car while phone calls were made to check we really were legitimate journalists.
When we asked if we could go, a soldier told us he had “orders to shoot” if we absconded. We stayed.
|Vitaliy Kim, the head of the Mykolayiv regional military administration CREDIT: PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH|
|The next day we interviewed Vitaly Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, who said he was intending to shut down the city to flush out Russian spies and traitors providing targeting information. Paranoia? Maybe. But you can't be too careful.|
As of yet the city has not been closed. But just days ago it suffered its biggest missile strike since the war began, with witnesses telling me they had seen torches lighting up the home of Ukraine’s biggest grain trader hours before he was killed by a Russian missile.
Daniel Burke, a former British paratrooper who leads the Dark Angels, had spotted lights flashing at the compounds before they were hit. He is now starting to be suspicious of everyone.
“All in all, I’ve been down here for about two months now and I have never felt uncomfortable in this place, ever,” Mr Burke said from a new, safer location. “But the last two days I’ve felt so uncomfortable that I’ve been on edge.”
His team of volunteers ended up moving out of the city early.
While two people were killed in the bombardment, all of Mr Burke’s team escaped, although some with significant injuries. “It’s a miracle we survived,” he said.