The Kremlin said on Thursday it would expose “traitors” inside Russia, echoing President Vladimir Putin’s earlier call to “cleanse” Russian society.
“In these situations, many people show themselves as traitors,” said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “They are disappearing from our lives on their own. Some are leaving their posts, others are leaving the country. That’s how the cleansing is happening.”
Thousands of Russians fled their country on the day of Putin’s decision to launch a major military offensive in Ukraine on February 24 – or even for a few hours. The exact number of them is unknown.
But Peskov said Putin was backed by a “broad majority” of Russians.
On Wednesday, Putin passionately defended his tactics in Ukraine against what he called the “fifth pillar and national traitor” that was “mentally” in the West.
“The Russian people will always have the true patriots to separate them from the traitors and will suck them like a fly that has accidentally entered their mouths,” he said.
“I am convinced that a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our people,” Putin said at a government meeting on television.
The longtime Russian leader has also accused the Western press and social media giants of creating an “empire of lies” against Russia.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a union feed.)