Cheraw Chronicle

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"It sounds a little strange, but the sound of the bombs is happy."

“It sounds a little strange, but the sound of the bombs is happy.”

So far, the Ukrainian army has not made much progress in its counterattack to retake Kherson from the Russians. But as a result of the bombing of strategic bridges, Russian forces are in danger of being surrounded. For the occupation authorities, the situation seemed so alarming that they halted plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

Soon after capturing Kherson, Russian troops faced loud protests from the local population, but they were soon put to an end by force. “The atmosphere has changed dramatically with many pro-Ukrainians leaving,” said 65-year-old Victor, a Russian who has lived in Kherson for decades, in secure communication. “It was the old people who had the hardest escaping and the Soviet nostalgic people who stayed behind.”

However, there is still resistance brewing under the skin against the Russian occupiers and their Ukrainian accomplices. “There are regular attacks on collaborators. You can tell they are afraid. They drive through the city at high speed in fear of being blown up too. When you walk around the city you can still see many pro-Ukrainian slogans and the colors of the Ukrainian flag on the walls.”


Those are the moments when Victor and his wife Olga regain hope, just as they hear the impact of Ukrainian bombing on a Russian military base outside the city. “I never thought I’d ever say that, but it sounds amazing,” Olga says. “When the situation becomes calmer, we get upset. Then we wonder if something is wrong.”

Due to the displacement of a large part of the pro-Ukrainian population, they lost many of their friends. “Life has become so lonely, we feel we are among the people we cannot trust. Don’t you dare say what you think.”

Certainly not on the street, as you regularly come across a checkpoint of the Russian security forces in Rosgvardija. They stop random passersby to check their papers and check their cell phones. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll take you. You just have to wait and see what happens.”

An acquaintance got a bag over his head after the security forces learned that he was working as a mechanic for the Ukrainian army. “They took him to his house, turned everything upside down and interrogated him for hours. We never found out what they had done to him. He didn’t want to say anything after that, just that they knew everything about everyone. They had whole lists of data.”


In preparation for Russia’s annexation, the authorities have already slowly begun to introduce the Russian ruble as a means of payment. All branches of Ukrainian banks were closed, with the result that pensioners had not received a pension from Kyiv for months. Instead, they can now receive a small amount in rubles. “But I won’t go into that, because then they will write all kinds of information about you, apparently in preparation for the referendum,” Victor says.

A nurse who refused to pay a ruble sum to her hospital was severely punished. Russian guards visited her and confiscated her passport, phone and payment cards. They even wanted the title deeds of her home. They have been there three or four times. She does not have a penny now, just because she does not want to take a ruble, ”says Olga.

They started their own protest at home. In fact they do speak Russian, but they have now switched to Ukrainian due to anger over the Russian invasion. Olga even banned her favorite writer Mikhail Bulgakov. “The Russians destroyed everything, they tore everything apart.”

Victor admits that perhaps they should have left Kherson earlier. “But we didn’t expect it to go so fast.” Flights are no longer possible.

“You can only move around a bit in the area, but even that has become very difficult. You are being watched everywhere,” says Victor. There are no safe lanes for those who want to get out of town. If you try it yourself, you won’t know if you will survive.”

Every day they hope for the arrival of their editors, whom they have heard they are approaching lately. “Unlike the Russians, they target exclusively military targets, sparing the civilian population.” They cannot wait for Kherson to be released, but when the time comes, they will run as fast as they can. If the Russians withdrew from the city, it would be dangerous. Then they will try to demolish Kherson to the ground from a distance. ”

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