Ukrainians face false bomb threats when Moscow launches hybrid war

Amid fears of a Russian military attack, Ukrainians are also facing a wave of false bomb threats as Moscow launches a hybrid war to create panic among the public, according to Ukrainian security services. FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports from the central Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr.

Alla Vashchenko, a Ukrainian policeman, drives through the snow-covered streets of Zhytomyr to get to the site of the latest bomb blast.

“We received an email that they had planted bombs in all the city’s educational institutions and shopping malls,” Vashchenko explains.

There are no signs of panic in her voice, in fact, Vashchenko sounds somewhat resigned. This is because it is the eleventh time this year that she reacts to a bomb alert in Zhytomyr.

Across the country, Ukrainian police had to check more than 3,000 sites for bombs in the first three weeks of 2022 alone. All were false warnings.

Ukrainian authorities blame Russia for what they call a hybrid war.

“This is part of the hybrid war. To create chaos, uncertainty about tomorrow and a constant state of stress. So that schools have to switch to distance education and companies close,” Zhytomyr Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn explained.

The incessant false warnings can be stressful for parents, but Ukrainian school authorities are cooperating with the police to deal with attempts to destabilize the population with minimal disruption.

At Zhytomyr’s School No. 22, for example, the authorities decided not to evacuate the students.

“We have created a group that gathers parents and staff at the school to control these threats. With the help of the police, we did everything very efficiently and quickly without evacuating the students,” explained the school’s deputy director, Tetyana Antoniuk.

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