Kherson, the only regional capital captured by the Russians during the invasion of Ukraine, has become the Kremlin’s “horror laboratory”, said Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the OSCE. In his opinion, the example of this city shows how Moscow wants to subdue and Russify Ukraine.
A pre-planned, multi-faceted Russian campaign to absorb Kherson into Russia and installing a puppet regime there, “reveals the truth about her vision subjugated, Russified Ukraine“- said the diplomat on Thursday at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
– Kherson is the Kremlin’s horror laboratory. Every day when Kherson remains under Russian control, the Kremlin works to implement its plan to replace democratic government, free press and civil society with a pro-Kremlin-style state that humiliates its inhabitants and violates human rights and abducts, tortures and or kills those whom the Kremlin deems unnecessary, continued Michael Carpenter.
He added that the occupation authorities are trying to force local politicians and activists to cooperate, using blackmail, illegal imprisonment and threats to kidnap relatives. The American diplomat pointed out that at the same time the inhabitants of Chersonia are cut off from the Internet, which means that they do not have access to reliable sources of information and the websites of the Ukrainian government.
“Kherson will soon become part of Russia”
Before the war, Kherson, with over 280,000 inhabitants, is the only capital of the region occupied by the invaders.
On April 10, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Russians were printing agitation materials in the Kherson Oblast in order to hold a so-called referendum on the creation of the “Kherson People’s Republic”.
In the following days, the authorities in Kiev and Ukrainian military sources informed that “voting” in the region could take place in late April or early May. On May 9, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Malar said that it had not been held so far due to the effective actions of the Ukrainian army and special services and the resistance of the inhabitants.
As the Ukrainian Internet newspaper Kyiv Independent reported on May 20, the self-proclaimed head of the Kherson region government, Volodymyr Saldo, announced during a meeting with Russian collaborators that “Kherson will soon become part of Russia”.
Five days later the president Vladimir Putin issued a decree providing for a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to the inhabitants of the occupied territories in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.
Main photo source: Olexandr Chornyi / AP / East News