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'Rats leave the ship first' Putin's henchmen scramble to sell homes in annexed Crimea

A number of homes have been put on the market amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Hybrid warfare expert Liubov Tsybulska made reference to the popular idiom “like rats fleeing a sinking ship” in a tweet referring to a boom in houses being put for sale ahead of the eighth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

The idiom is often used in reference to people abandoning an enterprise once it seems likely to fail.

The Founder of StratCom Ukraine tweeted a map showing a number of properties available in the annexed region.

She claims many of the properties belonged to families of the Federal Security Service (FSB) or those from the occupation administration.

Accompanying it, she wrote: “Rats leave the ship first.

“FSB people are actively selling apartments in the Crimea.

“Number of new apartments for sale in the last few days. Mostly families of the FSB and the occupation administration.”

Liubov, whose place of work operates under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, shared the map but did not credit where it derives from.

She also did not show what the housing market in the area looked like prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to form a comparison.

A user called Jonathan Hartley responded to the initial tweet asking for the primary source of the information.

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He added: “It’s not that we disbelieve you, the information is more powerful when we know where it originated.”

In response, Ms Tsybulska claimed: “UA intel services make a lot of information public these days.

“This particular one they got from some FSB insiders and real estate agents in Crimea.

“Looks like [rumours] about conflict between FSB and RU military are truthful.”

She makes reference to reports of a letter from an “FSB whistleblower” claiming that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is going horribly wrong.

The letter, which has not been authenticated, was published online by a Russian human rights watchdog, Gulagu before being picked up by analysts at Bellingcat.

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The report said: “No one knew that there would be such a war, so no one prepared for such sanctions.

“It’s just that there is no option for a possible victory.”

The author claimed they were being told to tailor their intelligence reports in order to please their superiors.

The report said: “We have been increasingly pressed to customize reports to the requirements of management – I once touched on this topic.

“All these political consultants, politicians and their retinue, influence teams – all this created chaos.

“Now, even if Zelensky is killed, taken prisoner, nothing will change.”

March 18 marks eight years since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

It took place in the aftermath of the Revolution of Dignity and is part of the wider Russo-Ukrainian War.

Ukraine and many other countries condemned the annexation and consider it to be a violation of international law.



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