A resident of the Ukrainian city of Kherson told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Russian soldiers were in Kherson, but insisted the city was a “Ukrainian city and we want to remain a Ukrainian city.”
“Our city is… flooded with Russian occupiers, but the flag is still Ukrainian and we hope it will remain Ukrainian,” said Svetlana Zorina, 27, a resident of Kherson. “We trust our mayor. We trust our government. We trust our army. We believe in our victory. We are a Ukrainian city and we want to remain a Ukrainian city,” Zorina said.
Kherson Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev said in a statement shared on his Facebook page on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military is no longer in the city and its residents must now carry out the instructions of “armed people who came to the city administration” — indicating that the city is now under Russian control.
British military intelligence released early Thursday noted that “some Russian forces have entered the city of Kherson”, but warned that the military situation on the ground “remains unclear”.
In a statement on Thursday, Hennadii Lahuta – the head of the Kherson state regional administration – said Russian forces had “completely occupied” the state regional administration building.
Kherson resident Zorina told Amanpour about the situation on the ground in the city. “We try not to go out because it’s dangerous. Today, for the first time, I realized to check near a store a hundred meters from me, if they had food, but there was nothing because we are surrounded by Russians , and it is impossible to deliver food or medicine here.
“So we’re basically trying to save what we can and we have food reserves, but it will be enough for a few weeks,” she said.
Zorina said the city administration was carrying out tasks despite Russian misinformation. “Our mayor is in contact with us, and the municipal administration is in contact with us. There are Telegram channels. There’s a website from our mayor’s office, and they’re sharing information, disseminating information with us,” she told CNN.
“There is a huge propaganda that the Russians have tried to spread among Khersons and Ukrainians, it’s like we want to be part of Crimea. It’s not true. We do not want. The mayor is just telling us how the city will run for the next two days, that transportation will work for people who work at, you know, a power station, a water station, etc.
Asked by Amanpour about the Russian presence in the city, Zorina said the Russian soldiers “don’t know why they came here, what their purpose is, and they treat — the Russian army treats the soldiers very badly. They cry… our people feed them.
Zorina described a serious humanitarian situation in the city following the Russian aggression and said there were “a lot of civilian buildings that were hit…people are sitting in the apartments or the basements , and women – pregnant women gave birth to their children in basements.
” I do not want to leave. I don’t want to become a refugee. I want to live in my country. I was born in Kherson. I’ve lived here almost all my life, and I don’t want to change it, and I hope it will be over soon, and the Russian army will leave, the occupiers will leave,” she said.
“I want to live in Ukraine. I am Ukrainian,” she added.