Source: Jamestown Foundation
On July 19, the Ukrainian Armed Forces conducted a strike on a Russian ammunition depot in Crimea. Later, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Defense Intelligence Unit of Ukraine, confirmed the strike, calling it a “successful operation.” In his comments, he also thanked the “Ukrainian patriots” in Crimea for the additional intelligence and confirmation videos that were critical to the operation. Previously, Ukrainian intelligence and other branches of the armed forces had repeatedly urged those Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories to help in liberating these regions by providing information on enemy forces via specifically designated Telegram channels.
Beyond providing intelligence to the army, some partisans have engaged in more active operations. For example, on June 25, Russian police killed Tigran Ogannisyan and Mykyta Khanganov, two teenagers living in the city of Berdiansk in occupied Zaporizhzhia region. Before their death, they claimed that they had killed two Russian law enforcement officers. Later, Russian media stated that both had been pro-Ukrainian partisans who had already been arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) for alleged railway sabotage back in 2022. The boys’ parents remain adamant that the investigation and charges were fabricated and politically motivated. According to locals, one of their former teachers, Oleg Dryanev, reported the teenagers due to their position on the war.
This episode demonstrates the variety of threats that the Ukrainian resistance encounters in the occupied territories: FSB operatives, pro-Russian neighbors, constant security checks, counterintelligence measures, and a sprawling system of repression. The Russian authorities often report on arrests of pro-Ukrainian activists, immediately blaming them for acts of espionage or sabotage—though, at times, these arrests are politically motivated and used to prosecute Ukrainians or stage videos for psychological effects that are then amplified by pro-Russian media and bloggers.