Russian saboteurs ‘infiltrating bomb shelters and hiding weapons in children’s toys’: Report

At least a dozen bullets were extracted from a teddy bear at a metro station in Kyiv recently

Kharkiv City in Ukraine severely devastated by Russian strikes

Locals in Kyiv have said they are living in fear of Russian soldiers, who are reportedly infiltrating bomb shelters and concealing weapons in toys used by children.

The reports came after at least a dozen bullets were extracted from a teddy bear at a metro station in Kyiv.

The bullet-infested toy was recovered after five men were held by the police for acting suspiciously in a subway where Ukrainians have moved to take shelter from Russian bombings. A Belarusian citizen was also found with ammunition on them, adding to locals’ fears.

Karolina Stolozh, a resident in Kyiv, said Russian saboteurs were hiding their weapons in toys so they could “shoot people in shelters”, according to Metro.

“‘We use our metro as a shelter, there are a lot of people hiding there with kids. There are a lot of Russian saboteurs here who came a couple of weeks before the war, and they do crazy stuff like this.”

Several sabotage groups in Russia are reportedly hiding weapons in toys, mobile phones and other valuable objects, officials from northern Ukraine’s Sumy have said.

This has prompted the military to warn residents not to touch any valuable objects lying unattended. People have also been asked to report anything suspicious.

Many Ukrainians suspect that the saboteurs change out of Russian military uniforms into their country’s colours to mingle among the locals in Kyiv and sneak into the shelter houses. They then threaten people with guns or other weapons.

“We have people on duty who stay near the door all night and check everyone who is trying to go inside our shelter,” Ms Stolozh said. She added that there have been several cases where Russians stopped the cars of local civilians, stole their belongings and killed them.

Multiple reports of Russian aggression on Ukrainian families have surfaced in the last week after Russian president Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into Ukraine.

Over one million people or more than 2 per cent of Ukraine’s population has fled the country since then. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, witnessed mass evacuation in the last few days as many fled fearing shelling and bombings.

Close to 230 civilians have been killed and more than 500 have been wounded, according to the UN high commissioner for human rights.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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