And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth
distressSTRONGS 4938: unoche, soon-okh-ay´; from 4912; restraint, i.e. (figuratively) anxiety: — anguish, distress.
of nations, the sea and the waves roaring; — Luke 21:25

Article Source: Jerusalem Post

Russia may be considering annexing Ukraine’s Kherson region like it did Crimea, or it may turn it into an independent pro-Russia polity like Donetsk and Luhansk, US State Departments Ned Price warned on Tuesday.

“The Kremlin is probably weighing a few approaches: from recognizing a so-called “people’s republic” as Russia forcibly did in Donetsk and Luhansk, to an attempted annexation just as Russia did in Crimea,” said Price in a Tuesday press briefing.


The Kremlin indicated it could attempt a sham referendum to create a Kherson ‘people’s republic’ – even though it lacks any popular or legal legitimacy to do so, according to Price

Prior to the war that only about 20% of Kherson residents viewed Russia positively, which has likely lost legitimacy and local support since Russia’s invasion.

Price warned that a Russian proxy official in Kherson had publicly stated an intent to appeal to Russia to incorporate the Kherson region by the end of the year.

“The process might involve a referendum, but it won’t happen by autumn. We’re preparing an administrative system and then towards next year we will see what the situation is like,” Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson Military-Civilian Administration said, according to Reuters.

Administration in Kherson

Price criticized Russia’s implementation of administration, and mentioned indications of its intended permanency.

“In Kherson specifically, multiple reports indicate Russian forces have forcibly removed legitimate Ukrainian Government officials and installed illegitimate pro-Russian proxies,” said Price. “One such proxy, a “governor,” was installed in April. “

In May Russian officials had been increasing their visits to the region — Most notably by a Russian deputy prime minister.

“[A Russian deputy prime minister] publicly stated that Moscow believed Kherson has ‘a decent place in our Russian family.’ This followed a trip by the head of Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, who said Russia would remain in Kherson ‘forever,’ said Price.

Path to citizenship

Price said that the State Department was sounding an alarm, “particularly following Russian President Putin’s unilateral decree that would fast-track the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens. Russia used similar tactics in Donetsk and Luhansk in 2019.”

Price was referencing a Russian program available since 2019 to residents of areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an extension decree that streamlined the process for residents of the Russian-occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions to acquire Russian citizenship and passports last Wednesday. 


The US also noted that Russia may be tightening its grip on communications in Kherson as another means of control

“As of late April, Russia likely controlled at least 25 broadcasting towers in Ukrainian areas under Russian military control, including in the Kherson region, and was airing pro‑Russia media channels probably to weaken anti-Russian sentiment and public resistance,” said Price.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection stated that there was a “shutdown of all communications” in Kherson.

The Russian-controlled Ukrainian region of Kherson has begun exporting grain that was harvested last year to Russia, the TASS news agency cited a senior local official as saying on Monday.

Grain exports

The Russian-controlled Ukrainian region of Kherson has begun exporting grain that was harvested last year to Russia, the TASS news agency cited a senior local official as saying on Monday.

“We have space to store (the new crop) although we have a lot of grain here. People are now partially taking it out, having agreed with those who buy it from the Russian side,” Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Military-Civilian Administration said.Stremousov was also cited as saying the administration was working on the supplies of sunflower seeds to local and Russian processing plants. Ukraine has previously accused Russia of stealing its grain from the territories Moscow has occupied since launching what it calls a special military operation in February.

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