Russian troops have put up dozens of surveillance towers across Mariupol to track Ukrainians' conversations and digital activity

Russian military Mariupol
A Russian serviceman stands guard at the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol on May 18, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images
  • Russia put up towers in Mariupol that track Ukrainians' digital activity, an advisor to the city's exiled mayor says.

  • Petro Andryushchenko said that the Russians have installed 40 such towers across Mariupol.

  • He described the Russian troops' activities as Orwellian.

Russian troops have installed dozens of towers across the occupied city of Mariupol to surveil Ukrainian citizens' conversations and track their digital activity, Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to Mariupol's exiled mayor, said.

The Kyiv Post first reported on Andryushchenko's Telegram post about the surveillance towers.

"This is equipment for monitoring conversations and Internet traffic of Mariupol residents," Andryushchenko wrote alongside a video. "This tower and this booth."

The Russians are also using the towers for military communications, he wrote, adding that Russian troops have erected 40 such towers in Mariupol over the last three months.

"Total control in action. Old Orwell would simply be amazed how all his fictions became the reality of Mariupol," Andryushchenko wrote, referring to "1984" author George Orwell.

Andryushchenko's post comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin intensifies the pressure on his military leaders to make significant gains in the ongoing war against Ukraine.

Citing an "insider" Telegram channel called Kremlin Secrets, the Institute for the Study of War said recently that Putin reportedly gave Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu "a deadline" of early October "to improve the situation on the frontlines, stop Ukrainian counteroffensives, and have Russian forces regain the initiative to launch an offensive operation against a larger city," like Kherson, Odessa, Kharkiv, or Dnepropetrovsk.

The message posted to the Telegram channel said that Shoigu agreed to both of those demands and promised to make them happen.

ISW said that if Putin's demand to dramatically improve Russia's standing on the frontlines is true, it could explain why Russian forces are launching frequent counterattacks even if they come at a steep cost to the Russian military.

But The New York Times reported on Thursday that despite intense fighting and forceful offensives from both Russia and Ukraine, the front line of the war has hardly moved this year.

Read the original article on Business Insider