The Russian-occupied city of Cherson is to switch to rubles

A puppet government in the Russian-held city of Kherson said yesterday it would switch the region’s payments to the ruble from next month, in the strongest sign so far that Moscow plans to occupy parts of Ukraine for the long term.

Russia captured the southern city of Kherson and parts of the surrounding region in the first week of the invasion.

RIA Novosti, Russia’s state news agency, yesterday quoted a Russia-appointed “official” as saying that the Kherson region will switch payments to rubles from May before completely abolishing the Ukrainian currency in four months.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-controlled “civilian-military administration” of Kherson, also made it clear that Kherson would finally secede from Ukraine.

“Reincorporating the Kherson region into Nazi Ukraine is out of the question,” he said, citing unnamed reports of alleged discrimination against Russian speakers. It is impossible.”

He also denied reports that Russia would hold a vote in Kherson to try to set up a separatist outlet in the region north of Crimea.

Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has said Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine has “honorable aims” and will not occupy any part of the country.

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and supports separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

In Kherson, the Russian military removed the mayor from office this week when gunmen changed guards at City Hall.

The Russian military promptly named a local lawmaker to replace them.

Ihor Kolykhaev, the mayor of Kherson, who has not left the city despite Russian orders, told Ukrainian radio station NV yesterday morning that his administration continues to work remotely.

He also expressed concern about the city’s vital infrastructure, as about 40 percent of local residents have left the city since the occupation began.

Kherson has seen repeated protests against Russian troops, and at least 200 people, most of them local activists, have gone missing in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, Russian troops used stun grenades to disperse a 100-strong rally.

Four people were hospitalized, including an elderly woman, Mr Kolykhaev said. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] The Russian-occupied city of Cherson is to switch to rubles

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