Special forces swoop on Ukrainian woman accused of helping Russian invaders
THIS is the dramatic moment Ukraine’s special forces swooped on a suspected collaborator accused of betraying her country’s heroic defenders.
The Sun joined a squad of elite Alpha Force troops and secret intelligence agents to nab a village leader accused of high treason.
They screeched into bomb-scarred Kutuzivka, in rural Kharkiv province, in an unmarked civilian car after it was liberated by Ukraine’s armed forces.
It was part of a nationwide blitz on traitors and turncoats accused of helping Russian invaders.
Nadiya Antonova, secretary of the local council, was accused of revealing the names of soldiers, police and counter-terrorism specialists who would have formed the backbone of local resistance.
She also passed on the identities of hunters and park rangers whose knowledge of the countryside would have made them perfect partisan fighters, prosecutors alleged.
The powerful official was found cowering in the basement of a bombed-out government building when the Alpha troops pinpointed her position, in the countryside outside Kharkiv.
In echoes of World War Two — when Nazi collaborators were rounded up as the Allies advanced across Europe — she was read her rights under martial law and frogmarched past a handful of residents in the almost abandoned village. As shock turned to anger, she yelled: “Traitor! You think you’ve found a traitor?
“Shame on you. I was here the whole time. How do you think we lived here?”
She was accused of forcing residents to wear white armbands in a show of support for Russian forces. Russian troops wore white and orange armbands while Ukrainians wore yellow, green and blue.
Kharkiv’s Governor Oleh Syniegubov said: “According to the investigation, Nadiya Antonova sided with the invaders in the village of Kutuzivka. She established cooperation with the head of the Russian military, with the call sign Knight.
“Antonova handed over anti-terrorist operatives, environmental protection veterans, hunters and law enforcement officers, and forced locals to wear white armbands.”
A second official, Eduard Konovalov, was seized in a coordinated raid in frontline town Staryi Saltiv, further east.
The governor alleged that Konovalov, the chairman of his local council, “voluntarily sided with the occupiers, provided them with housing, and agitated the population not to resist the enemy”.
They face up to life in prison for “treason under martial law”.
Kharkiv’s chief prosecutor Olexandr Filchakov said Russian troops had “tortured and murdered” fighters betrayed by Ukrainian traitors.
Mr Filchakov, who was pictured holding a British supplied NLAW anti-tank weapon, said: “They take them to camps and torture them, especially anyone with links to the police, the intelligence or army veterans.”
His team are overrun with more than 900 war crimes probes including 29 murders and one rape.
He said: “A big part of our work is war crimes. The other part is traitors.
Antonova handed over anti-terrorist operatives, environmental protection veterans, hunters and law enforcement officers, and forced locals to wear white armbands.
Kharkiv’s Governor Oleh Syniegubov
“We have 47 treason and collaboration investigations, including four mayors and four council deputies.”
Mr Filchakov, who met The Sun in a secret basement office to evade Russian bombardments, said Kharkiv had one of the largest treason caseloads in the country.
The Russian-speaking region shares a border with Russia and many people have family ties on both sides of it.
But he echoed lion-hearted President Zelensky’s warning that traitors would face exile, if they fled, or jail.
Mr Zelensky declared last month: “It is necessary to punish collaborators.
“The future of Ukraine directly depends on the strength of our resistance in all its forms.
“The future of us all, each of our cities, each of our villages.
“And I am grateful to everyone who understands this, who does not stop resisting even when it seems that the result is very far.
“Because the darkest time is always before dawn.”