By Sarah Rainsford
Eastern Europe correspondent, Andriivka
May 23, 2022
To Ukrainians it was clear from the very start of Russia’s invasion that this was no «special operation» to liberate the Donbas region, as Vladimir Putin had declared. It was all-out war.
But in Russia it’s a crime to call it that.
Dozens of people have already been prosecuted under the «fake news» law, as it’s known. They face up to 15 years behind bars for challenging the official line on Russia’s invasion or criticising the military.
It’s a dramatic increase in censorship in Russia, where Vladimir Putin has spent his two decades in power removing opponents, stifling free speech and silencing the independent media: a dismantling of democracy that is having devastating consequences here in Ukraine.