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May 2 17 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ Central Asian migrant workers recruited by Russian companies to dig trenches in occupied parts of Ukraine are complaining that they are not being paid, or in at least one case, are not even being allowed back into Russia. ⬇️ Image
2/ The Sistema investigative project reports that a Moscow-based construction company recruited migrant workers from Tajikistan to dig trenches and build dugouts in the occupied Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine in January 2023.
3/ The workers were to be paid a collective sum of 800,000 rubles ($11,400 at the January exchange rate) to dig a kilometer-long trench with dugouts. It was 15 km from the front line, so they were not concerned about being attacked. They lived in abandoned houses near Tokmak.
4/ The company's co-owner allegedly short-changed them, paying them only 600,000 rubles. The workers stopped digging and those who could afford to do so went home. Those who could not stayed in the occupied region, awaiting payment.
5/ The workers submitted a complaint in Moscow but found no help there. Their foreman, a man named Nurullo, says: "There are no police there [in Zaporizhzhia], only the military, they do whatever they want, shoot, blow up, bury them, they are accountable only to themselves."
6/ Three of the workers were then detained and roughed up by the police. "They were pushing, trying to intimidate us. But I said, 'Do whatever you want. They said, 'Do you know that you might face a life sentence for going there? We said we were working, not fighting."
7/ The company that employed them has denied any wrongdoing and claims that the workers were cheated by their foreman. "Our company was treated very badly, [these are] extremely dishonest people."
8/ "Their foremen ditch their people, and then these people demand money from the organisation they work for. We encountered this kind of situation twice, and we barely got rid of these people."
9/ In some cases, migrant workers have been unable to re-enter Russia because – despite the annexations – the border is still treated as an international one. The Migrant Media project reports that a Kyrgyz man named Azamat is trapped in the Luhansk region, unable to leave.
10/ Azamat travelled to Luhansk last year to work as a builder repairing war damage on behalf of another Russian construction firm. He was unofficially employed, without a contract, but this did not initially seem to be a problem. He was stopped when he tried to return to Russia.
11/ "They said I was on the blacklist. It turns out they wrote my date of birth down wrong. They also said something about a visa. But Kyrgyz people do not need one! But they said I had to check this myself through the Ministry of Internal Affairs!"
12/ Azamat was told that he was banned from entering Russia and would be fined 300,000 rubles ($3,744) or imprisoned for 4 years if he did so. His passport expires today, adding to his predicament. He faces a 20 year jail sentence if he surrenders to the Ukrainians.
13/ Human rights activists in Moscow are trying to get Azamat home with the assistance of the Kyrgyz Embassy. Hundreds or possibly even thousands of other Central Asian migrants are thought to be working for the Russians in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
14/ Activist Anisa Jeenbekova warns migrants: "Don't go there! First of all, it's dangerous. The laws of the Russian Federation do not work on this territory: this zone is still considered the territory of another country.
15/ "If you are refused entry to Russia and you somehow cross the border anyway, your stay here will be illegal and you will not be able to fly home from Russia. Think about your life, your future!"
16/ This is not the first time that central Asian migrants – who are often exploited in Russia – have encountered difficulties in working in occupied areas of Ukraine. Some have reported being lured to the region by "deceit" and not being paid. /end

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More from @ChrisO_wiki

May 3
1/ Russian soldiers have spoken about their experiences of being captured and later released by Ukraine, and what they plan to do next. Some are going back to the war, while others are disillusioned and trying to escape from their contracts. ⬇️ Dmitry KuznetsovViktor Masyagin
2/ Radio Free Europe has interviewed three men of very different backgrounds. They were among some 2,000 Russian soldiers exchanged in prisoner swaps with the Ukrainians. They include a long-serving mercenary, an alcoholic divorcee and a disillusioned volunteer.
3/ The mercenary, 43-year-old Viktor Masyagin, has been fighting in Ukraine since 2014. A veteran of the Chechen wars, he was among Igor "Strelkov" Girkin's men who briefly captured Sloviansk in 2014. Since then he has been fighting with the Veterans private military company.
Read 32 tweets
May 3
1/ The 'People of Baikal' Telegram channel has published an explanation of the background to its story on the wounded Russian soldier Yegor Lebedev, for which it used an AI-generated image to protect his identity.
2/ "This is the story of a volunteer from Ust-Ilimsk wounded in Ukraine who had his money stolen and was fired from the service without his consent. We noted a comment in the Telegram channel of Igor Kobzev, governor of the Irkutsk region.
3/ "A user under the nickname "Matros" ["Sailor"] wrote that he was lying in the same hospital as a wounded man who told him about his problems with money and documents.

People of Baikal's correspondent contacted "Matros," whose real name is Arkady.
Read 6 tweets
May 2
1/ Sanctions on the Russian aviation industry are leading to an increasing number of malfunctions and emergency landings, due to a lack of maintenance and technical support, and an acute shortage of spare parts. Safety is said to be gradually deteriorating. ⬇️ Image
2/ The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that sanctions have had drastic effects on Russian airlines, which overwhelmingly rely on Western-made aircraft. Boeing and Airbus both cut off access to technical support and the supply of spare parts was stopped.
3/ Some spare parts are still available through "grey schemes", such as wheels and brakes. However, industry insiders say that such grey imports are arrive "much slower and cost more". Engine parts cannot be imported, forcing airlines to do costly maintenance work themselves.
Read 11 tweets
May 1
1/ This thread is the third part of @IanMatveev's translated analysis of the military and geographical considerations around possible Ukrainian offensive options in the south. Part 1 is here:
3/ From @IanMatveev:

Part 6 - support from the right bank.

Artillery support is an important task for AFU units on the right bank, but there is another one.
Read 64 tweets
May 1
1/ This is a continuation of a translation of @IanMatveev's thread on the geographical and military considerations of a possible Ukrainian offensive in the south. For the first part, see here:
2/ From @IanMatveev:

Part 4 - the beginning of the breakthrough

It is most advantageous to start a breakthrough in 3-4 directions at once, and on each also in several separate areas, to then develop those that will go well.
3/ How to choose a place for the breakthrough? This is influenced by two factors – the weakness of enemy defences and tactical expediency. They often conflict with each other.
Read 47 tweets
May 1
1/ The excellent @IanMatveev has done another deep dive into military strategy in Ukraine – this time a look at the geographical considerations of a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south. See below for a translation (long thread ahead!). Image
2/ From @IanMatveev: The Ukrainian counter-offensive will certainly begin in the near future. What will it be like? It is quite possible that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will attack in the direction of Melitopol and Crimea. Let's analyse such an offensive's main elements.
3/ On the Zaporizhzhia front, Ukrainian forces can advance in two main directions - to Melitopol and Mariupol. I wrote about the pros and cons of both options here: . Today we'll study one of them in detail – the one that I think is preferable.
Read 60 tweets

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