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‘We Are Not Cooperating,’ Said The Population Of Occupied Ukraine

'We are not co-operating': Life in occupied Ukraine

Image Source: BBC

On Monday morning in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, Mayor Ivan Federov sat down at his desk to post his regular Facebook status update. In his speech, he warned his supporters that the Russian troops occupying the city had now gained control of the city’s communications network and that they should be skeptical of what they heard on television and the radio.

He had no idea how many individuals would be alerted by his warning. It was also practically hard to contact anyone within Melitopol through WhatsApp or Telegram and remain connected for more than a few minutes since the city’s internet connection had all but vanished.

When the Telegram app was eventually linked, Federov told the BBC that the traditional phone lines were no longer an option for him. “We are unable to utilize,” he said. “It’s just too simple for the Russians to listen in on our conversation.”

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When the invading troops gained possession of Melitopol a week ago, they looted the mayor’s offices, according to Federov, who stated his staff was exiled to another site where they are trying to continue administering their city while under siege.
In an unambiguous statement, Federov said that “we are not cooperating with the Russians in any manner.” “They have not attempted to assist us, they are unable to assist us, and we do not want their assistance.”

“There are demonstrations in Melitopol every day,” said Yuliya Kovaliova, 33, who worked for her family’s electronics shop before the invasion and was displaced by the attack.
“At some time, the Russian army opened fire on us, and one of our protesters was wounded, but we have not given up,” Kovaliova stated. “We are not frightened to demonstrate because we are a united front. Our fear of walking alone at night does not prevent us from participating in the protest.”

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Federov estimates that around 5,000 people gathered in Melitopol’s center plaza on Tuesday, despite the gunshot that occurred last week that resulted in the injury of a man in the leg. Several videos have emerged depicting demonstrations in dynamic and partially occupied cities and towns around the area, including Kherson, Berdyansk, Starobilsk, and Novopskov. The BBC contacted residents and local mayors to understand the situation on the ground better.

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According to Yunona, a 29-year-old IT worker in the southern city of Kherson, “I don’t know how to calculate the number of people demonstrating, but I felt it was at least 2,000,” said the protester. In response to the beating and kidnapping of one of our friends by Russian troops, enraged citizens followed the occupiers down the street, capturing them and returning him to us.

Olha, a 63-year-old English teacher in Kherson described the Russian soldiers stationed there as “young and confused.” Her words: “Every day, we go to the demonstrations, and they are near to us and still seem to be terrified,” she remarked. “We’re all simply waiting for the Ukrainian army to expel them,” said the group.

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