Ihor Kolykhaiev, the mayor of Russian-occupied Kherson, said the mass protests show that “Kherson is Ukraine” and insisted he retain administrative control of the city.
Speaking in a video posted on Facebook on Sunday, Kolykhaiev said: “The city lives in normal mode, the city council is functioning, all deputies are at work, all public establishments are operational. The mayor of Kherson’s office has a flag waving in front. Kherson is Ukraine.
Kherson has been occupied by Russian forces since March 3. In recent days, at least one official of the Kherson regional council has warned that the occupying forces are laying the foundations of the “People’s Republic of Kherson”.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators poured into the streets of the Russian-occupied city to protest against alleged Russian plans. The mayor said it was a “peaceful protest to show that the position of the citizens is that Kherson is Ukraine”.
Referring to reports of Russian coercion, Kolykhaiev warned that “there seem to be talks behind the scenes and people who want to change the political structure of our country and southern Ukraine are trying to influence this situation.”
The mayor also said the city had been cut off from humanitarian aid and lacked resources.
He said the city “cannot receive humanitarian cargo here, the food is ending up in the shops, we are running out of gas, we only have diesel left in the gas stations. We lack medicine and insulin.
“Our main weapon is unity,” he added.