Moscow Ukraine Zaporozhye and Kherson plans to hold a referendum in Russian-controlled areas. At a time when fighting is in full swing in eastern Ukraine, local officials have issued such a warning.
The purpose of organizing the voting in the partially occupied regions of southern Ukraine may be to declare the so-called “Kherson People’s Republic”. Luhansk after the Kremlin annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and He took this step in the Donetsk region, and in February of this year recognized these two so-called organizations. This is the locals from Moscow to Ukraine snowmay allow you to get involved in wars. Men aged 18-65 are also in separatist-held areas of Ukraine Russia are forced into the forces.
Forty percent of the population left Kherson
“I believe that, “Any referendum in Kherson region will be illegal, because Kherson is Ukraine.” – Mayor of Kherson Igor Kolikhayev He told Current Time.
Russia In the occupied territories of southern Ukraine, mayors have been replaced by people who sympathize with Moscow. Kolikhayev is an exception, his municipality Ukraine allowed to manage in accordance with the legislation.
Before the war, the city of Kherson, with a population of 300,000, fell to Russia without much resistance at the beginning of the war. Moscow is one of the largest regional centers since the occupation began on February 24. Kolikhayev says about 40 percent of the population has left the city.
Those who disappeared
Russian forces have set up headquarters in the city, with Kremlin-backed forces in the Donbas since 2014 snowhas access to the data of local residents who fought. This data is used in selective raids in Kherson. l
Kolikhayev is one of the names on the list 20He says more than 0 people have disappeared, and that Russian forces are searching the list and license plates.At 5 o’clock in the evening, there are almost no people left on the streets. The city is dying and becoming more and more empty. “
Recent statements by Russian officials indicate Moscow’s greater ambitions. It has been claimed that the south of Ukraine is a strategic target for Moscow and that Moldova will establish land links with the separatist Transnistrian region. Members of the Russian parliament are calling for the annexation of southern Ukraine to Russia under the name of the expanded Crimean federal district.
However, in order to achieve these goals, Russia is only in the Donbas Ukraine should not besiege their forces, nor Mikolayev and Odessa must occupy the border regions. Many analysts and Western military officials do not consider it possible.
Ukraine adviser to the president Mixaylo Podolyak He called the statements of Russian military officials about the seizure of large areas in the south “propaganda.” According to him, the Kremlin is trying to reorient its goals after losing the first stage of the war.
Meanwhile, rape in northern Ukraine by Russian forces and allegations of other war crimes are on the rise. Similar claims come from the occupied territories.
First Deputy Prosecutor of the Russian-occupied Kherson region Alexey Danilyak He told RFE / RL that, More than a thousand criminal cases have been opened in the department on alleged violations during the occupation. These include murder, kidnapping, deportation or deportation, torture, and sexual offenses.
Two rape allegations in Kherson
From the human rights group La Strada-Ukraine Alyona Krivulyak he said that, their hotline receives information about various alleged crimes. Although that, Russian forces are trying to prevent the occupation of civilians from communicating with Kiev-controlled areas. According to him according topsychological to residents and physical violence is committed, their cell phones, social media accounts are constantly checked.
Krivulyak says they have not received any allegations of rape other than in the temporarily occupied territories of southern Ukraine, but they are convinced that this is happening.
Moscow has not yet responded to specific allegations of war crimes. But Russian officials say their troops have not targeted civilians.
Ukrainian human rights activists are calling for the establishment of an “international hybrid tribunal” in the country to investigate war crimes committed in Ukraine since the Russian occupation began. Director of the Center for Civil Liberties in Kiev Alexandra Matviychuk he says that, Such a tribunal would allow “local investigators and judges” to work with their foreign counterparts.