Mykolaiv governor opens ‘hunting season’ on artillery fire spotters helping Russia

Vitalii Kim, the head of Mykolaiv’s regional military-civilian administration at a press conference in July.(Credit:

Tip-offs by Ukrainian collaborators are helping Russia attack the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, according to the region’s military leader, Vitalii Kim. He launched a crackdown last week to flush out saboteurs. 

Mykolaiv, a southern Ukrainian city of half a million people, has been under almost daily Russian bombardment since the beginning of the war.

On average, 20 to 30 missiles are fired at the city every day from neighbouring Kherson and Crimea, as well as long-range bombers, warships and submarines from as far as the Caspian Sea. Hundreds have been killed and thousands of buildings destroyed.

According to the region’s military experts, the attacks are being made possible by local artillery fire spotters collaborating with Russian forces. They do it for a small bribe of about $30-40 through secret Telegram channels.

To root out the traitors, Vitalii Kim, the head of Mykolaiv’s regional military-civilian administration, has come up with a plan. 

In a video address posted on Telegram on July 20, Kim said the city will close for several days so that local authorities can conduct house-to-house searches to find those suspected of collaborating with Russia.

There’s also a reward of $100 for those that come forward with information, he added.

In one day alone, Mykolaiv authorities received 96 reports about the artillery spotters. However, not all messages have the correct information they need. Kim said.

"I will say that the feedback is very good. Most people refuse money because they just want to help, and give information to this channel about potential collaborators and artillery fire spotters.”

The city-wide crackdown is likely to happen in a week or two once enough information has been gathered, Kim said, without giving the exact details. "I am sure that there will be qualitative and quantitative results, and later I will give a proper assessment.”