Pro-Russian Deputy Governor Kherson: From next year the accession to Russia

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A senior pro-Russian official in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson told Reuters on Saturday that the forthcoming fighting could affect the timing of its formal proposal to join Russia and that such a decision was likely to be taken “next year”.

Kirill Stremusov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson Military-Political Administration, also said the process could include a referendum, with previous comments saying no one would be needed.

Asked about Russia’s accession timetable, he said: “It will not happen until the autumn. We are preparing an administrative system and then next year we will see what the situation will be like.”

Stremusov told Russian state media on May 11 that Kherson, just north of Crimea and the only regional capital occupied by Russia in more than three months of fighting in Ukraine, would ask President Vladimir Putin to integrate it into Russia by at the end of 2022. He had then stated: “Kherson could not be the only city that could have the opportunity to speak:” There will be no referendums “.

In an interview with Reuters, however, he said there could be a referendum. “We will announce later when some kind of vote or referendum is planned, but it will not be today and it will not be tomorrow, because our first task is to restore order in the Hersonissos area,” he said.

Ukrainian and Western intelligence services have been predicting since March that Moscow will hold a referendum on the Kherson’s integration into Russia, as it did after the 2014 occupation of Crimea.

Russia has said that the fate of the Kherson region is up to the people of the region to decide. Ukraine has pledged to expel Russian forces from all occupied territories.

Before the arrival of Russian troops, 45-year-old Stremusov was a small local politician and blogger with anti-vaccination videos. He has worked with pro-Russian former mayor of Kherson Volodymyr Saldo, serving as his deputy in the Russian-appointed government in the region.

Both Stremousov and Saldo are wanted for treason by Ukraine.

Although Russian troops based in Crimea occupied Kherson in the early days of the war, they were unable to advance further due to the steady defense in the city of Nikolaev, 58 km away. The front line in the area has remained largely static since March.

Speaking via video call from his office in the Kherson administration building, with a portrait of Putin behind him and framed by a crumpled Russian flag, Stremusov blamed Mykolaiv’s failure to occupy Kherson on entering Russia.

“Once we are liberated from Nikolaev’s (Ukrainian forces) group, which is constantly bombing the city of Kherson, when we occupy the Mykolaiv area and liberate our colleagues and citizens in the Nikolaev and Odessa areas, it will be much easier. to make some decisions “.

But regardless of the military situation, the de facto integration of the Kherson into Russia continues at a rapid pace.

On Wednesday, Putin signed a decree allowing residents of Hersonissos and neighboring Zaporizhia to acquire Russian citizenship at a rapid pace.

Russian banks and mobile phone companies have announced plans to launch operations in the region, where Ukrainian TV channels have been replaced by Russian state-run media outlets.

On May 6, Andrei Turchak, leader of Russia’s ruling United Russia party, said during a visit to Kherson that Russia would remain in the region “forever.”

The local pro-Russian administration has promised that Kherson will switch to the Russian ruble, after a transitional period in which both the ruble and the Ukrainian hryvnia will be accepted.

Stremusov said: “In time, we will completely abandon the dollar, we will completely abandon the hryvnia’s dependence on the dollar, and we will move to the ruble system, as they did in Crimea.”

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Source: Capital

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