Military vehicles move through the road sign to Kherson in Crimea – Photo: TASS
“The decision to become part of the Russian Federation or not is the decision of the people of the Kherson region, and the people of this region will decide their fate,” the TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on March 11.
Kherson is the first major Ukrainian city to fall since Russia launched a “military special operation” here on February 24. In late April 2022, Russia took full control of Kherson.
Also on May 11, the Kherson government announced that it would send Russian President Vladimir Putin an application to join Russia. According to Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Kherson’s military and civil administration, the city will comply with Russian law “by the end of the year.”
However, Russia’s spokesman Peskov said that “this is an issue that needs to be clearly and thoroughly examined and evaluated by lawyers and legal experts”.
“Such a fateful decision must have a perfectly clear legal basis, a legitimate argument and full legitimacy, just like in the case of Crimea,” Peskov said, recalling Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Some Ukrainian officials have previously suggested that Russia could hold a “referendum” in Kherson to tighten control there, similar to Crimea.
When asked about this, Peskov replied: “I won’t say anything about the referendum.”
According to the Reuters news agency, Russia has now introduced the ruble in Kherson. Meanwhile, the Tass news agency quoted Stremuosov as saying that a Russian bank should open here by the end of May 2022.
Kherson is also a major agricultural center of Ukraine, growing a variety of agricultural products such as wheat, corn, sunflowers and vegetables.
Kherson is located in the northern part of the Crimean peninsula, an area that plays an essential role in Crimea’s drinking water supply and irrigation. The occupation of this region creates a bridge between Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist-dominated region of eastern Ukraine.