Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) announced on Friday that it had begun conducting a “filtration” of civilians in Balakleya, the town in Kharkov Region reportedly taken by forces of the Kiev government. SBI agents will be checking for those who “may pose a threat to national security,” the agency said.
“The purpose of the measures is to prevent the subversive activities of the Russians and their allies,” the SBI said on social media, adding it would “carefully process information about persons who cooperated with aggressors” and hold “collaborators and traitors strictly accountable.”
“The time of reckoning has come,” the SBI concluded.
Ukraine had charged the town’s mayor with treason in April, accusing him of collaborating with Russian troops and helping them distribute humanitarian aid.
Balakleya is about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Kharkov, in the Izyum district. The town had around 25,000 residents before the conflict in Ukraine escalated in February. Russian troops took control of it at the end of March, but Kiev claims to have retaken it this week. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky shared a video of a Ukrainian flag flying over the town’s administration on Thursday evening.