Latest news about the war between Russia and Ukraine: live updates

Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

MYKOLAIV, Ukraine — The disputed city of Mykolaiv emerged on Monday from a 54-hour lockdown in which officers went door-to-door searching for collaborators officials say are responsible for helping Russian forces identify targets for the missiles flying the city ​​beech every day.

The governor of the Mykolaiv region, Vitaliy Kim, declared the dramatic operation — which sealed the city, preventing residents from entering or leaving — a success. Five people were arrested, he said, and a number of weapons and communications equipment were seized, although he did not provide details.

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience over the weekend, but it was worth it,” Mr Kim said in a video message Monday morning.

He added: “No Russian-speaking person was shot.”

The need to exterminate employees was particularly acute in Mykolaiv, according to Mr. Kim. Few places in Ukraine have experienced the kind of sustained barrage of Russian fire as this city on the south coast. Since the war started nearly five and a half months ago, there have been barely two dozen days without violence.

The city’s mayor, Oleksandr Senkevych, said the attacks destroyed about 1,200 houses and apartment buildings. Since the war started, he said 132 residents have been killed and more than 619 injured in Russian attacks.

Amid the devastation, some residents said the controls for collaborators brought some comfort despite the inconvenience.

“It calmed us down a bit,” says Valentina Hontarenko, 74, who sold kvass, a popular drink made from fermented bread, at a newsstand. “They asked about our connections to Russia. We have none.”

During the lockdown, officers went door-to-door, stopping people in the street, checking their documents and scrolling through their phones for evidence that they may have been collaborating with Russian forces. Video of the operation released by local authorities shows officers checking computers and text messages on phones.

In a screenshot of a text message exchange with a mobile phone – the authenticity of which could not be confirmed – someone with the screen name Mykolaiv People’s Republic describes part of the city as full of military equipment and soldiers. The answer: “Send the coordinates.”

Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Mykolaiv is a largely Russian-speaking city with a pre-war population of nearly 500,000. It borders the Kherson region, which is largely occupied by Russian forces. That region is now the scene of daily skirmishes as Ukrainian forces launch a counter-offensive to push Russian forces back east across the Dnipro River. Part of Ukraine’s defenses run through the Mykolaiv region, and Ukrainian troops often come to the city in turns or for a break from the front lines.

While most Russian artillery cannot reach Mykolaiv, Russian forces have hit it off with long-range missiles.

For weeks, Mr. Kim has been warning of threats from associates, civilians sympathetic to Russia who help its military by providing information and Ukrainian troop locations. But he has released few details and it is unclear how pernicious the problem is. Before the weekend’s close, only a handful of people had been arrested on suspicion of aiding the enemy.

Last month, the hugely popular Mr. Kim sent a message to his approximately 677,000 followers on Telegram in which he offered a $100 bounty for any information leading to an employee’s arrest.

“Help save Mykolaiv from rocket attacks,” he wrote.

The lockdown over the weekend was part of that.

Residents of Mykolaiv described the law enforcement inspections as non-confrontational, though some bourgeois libertarians in Western countries may cringe.

“It wasn’t very comfortable,” said a 35-year-old woman named Yelena, who stood in line with her husband to get water from a truck. “They came and checked everything – passports, telephones. They looked at who lived where.”

She added: “What to fear if everything is fine?”

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