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Putin orders border strengthening, demands greater control of society by special services

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President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the strengthening of Russia’s borders and instructed special services to keep greater control of society and to ensure the safety of people in regions in Ukraine that Moscow claims as its own, news agencies reported.

“Work must be intensified through the border services and the Federal Security Service (FSB),” Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency cited Putin as saying.

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“And it (the border) must be reliably covered. Any attempts to violate it must be thwarted quickly and effectively using whatever forces and means we have at our disposal, including mobile action units and special forces.”

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Speaking on Security Services Day, widely celebrated in Russia, Putin instructed the services to increase control of the society and maximize their “use of the operational, technical and personnel potential” to prevent risks coming from abroad and internal traitors.

“Maximum composure, concentration of forces is now required from counterintelligence agencies, including military intelligence,” TASS state agency citied Putin as saying. “It is necessary to severely suppress the actions of foreign special services, quickly identify traitors, spies and saboteurs.”

He also said that it is the tasks of special services to ensure the safety of people living in regions in Ukraine that Moscow claimed in September as their own – and which Kyiv and its Western allies called an illegal annexation.

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“It is your duty to do everything necessary to ensure their security to the maximum, respect for their rights and freedoms,” Putin said, promising them more “modern equipment and weapons.”

There is no end in sight to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, now in its 10th month. The conflict, Europe’s largest since World War Two, has killed tens of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, and reduced cities to ruins.

Moscow calls its invasion a “special operation” to denazify and demilitarize its neighbor. Kyiv and its allies in the West call it an unprovoked act of land grab. (Reporting in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly and in Winnipeg by Ronald Popeski; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Porter and Jonathan Oatis)

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