Man in Ukrainian town captured by Putin committed suicide IAN BIRRELL writes
Despite the residents’ valiant efforts to block the roads with felled trees and even fend off some armored vehicles with their bare hands, one of the first places to fall into the hands of the Kremlin was the small town of Horodnya.
It was unavoidable, as it is only 25 miles from the border and is on the way to Kyiv.
Yet two weeks later, the people refuse to be subjugated by the forces of Vladimir Putin – as shown by the shocking suicide of a man chosen by the Kremlin to be its minion in control of the city.
Russian security services believed Roman Makas, a prominent local businessman, would cooperate with their invasion – but instead he killed himself on Friday rather than have to cooperate.
Russian security services believed Roman Makas, a prominent local businessman, would cooperate with their invasion – but instead he killed himself on Friday
The tragedy stunned the Russian-speaking town of 11,700 people, but it symbolizes the extraordinary defiance manifested across Ukraine.
“He preferred to die rather than work for the occupiers,” said Oleksiy Honcharuk, the former Ukrainian prime minister from Horodnya.
Across Ukraine, from the Belarusian borders to the Sea of Azov, Putin’s forces met fierce resistance as they advanced and furious opposition when they thought they had captured areas.
In the southern city of Melitopol yesterday, around 2,000 people joined protests demanding the release of their mayor Ivan Fedorov, who was seized on Friday by eight armed men with a bag placed over his head following his refusal to cooperate.
President Volodymyr Zelensky praised such bravery yesterday, saying: “Do you hear, Moscow? The invaders must see that they are foreigners in our land, in all our land of Ukraine, and they will never be accepted.
There were similar scenes in Kherson, the first major city captured, with nine-day gatherings of Ukrainians draped in yellow and blue as they chanted abusive slogans against Putin and his occupying forces.
On Wednesday, at least 100 flag-waving citizens in the city staged a protest march, chanting slogans such as “The occupiers leave” and “Death to the enemy”.
“It’s not turning out to be the easy ride the Russian forces expected,” said Yevhen Yenin, first deputy interior minister. “Most Ukrainians resist. They refuse to cooperate and inform us about troop movements.
However, Yenin told the Mail on Sunday that Putin’s operatives have obtained lists of everyone who served in the voluntary military forces against pro-Moscow separatists in Donbass and are trying to track them or their families.
Former Prime Minister Honcharuk said the suicide followed failed attempts by Russian Federal Security Service agents to coerce the city’s mayor into collaborating.
“But the mayor said he would cooperate only if they could keep the Ukrainian flag and there was no interference,” Honcharuk said.
As a result, the Russians sought another community leader and hoped that businessman Makas, sponsor of the local soccer team, would take on the role. However, despite pressure to collaborate and even the spread of rumors that he had agreed to play the role, Honchurak said Makas realized his fellow townspeople would hate him. “He would rather die than cooperate.
Yet now, two weeks later, the people refuse to be subjugated by the forces of Vladimir Putin
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At least 100 flag-waving citizens in the city staged a protest march on Wednesday, chanting slogans such as “The occupiers leave” and “Death to the enemy” on the birth date of Ukraine’s national poet, Taras Shevchenko.
Oleksander, a resident of Horodnya, said: “The Russians were trying to stop them, shooting in the air and blocking the roads.”
He also said that Russian forces had found lists of Ukrainian police officers who were now in hiding. “The Russians are looking for them, trying to persuade them to join the Russian occupiers. But no one will cooperate.
Oleksander added that hatred against the invaders – despite around 60% of the city’s population, before the invasion, viewing Russia as friendly – had increased since the Russians cut communications, blew up the cell phone tower and prevented people from entering or leaving.
He said they had also seized every house on a street for their troops, “ordering everyone to leave and giving them 30 minutes to pack up.”
Oleksander said: “There are a lot of humiliations and threats, constant searches – but people don’t give in.”
Today, medical supplies are running out, according to the husband of a doctor at Horodnya hospital.
“There are patients with life-threatening diseases like diabetes and AIDS, but the Russians don’t care. It’s going to be a disaster,” he said. He also said a publicity stunt in Moscow – involving a Russian truck carrying humanitarian aid – backfired when no locals showed up to take the supplies as they refused to be filmed. by Russian television “gratefully” receiving help.
The only Ukrainian town mayor known to have collaborated is Gennady Matsegora, the leader of a small town near Kharkiv, who said in a statement three days after the invasion: “The Russians persuaded me that this would not change the life in our city. Schools, kindergartens, hospitals and shops will operate. I made this decision. All responsibility lies with me.
A week later, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law making collaboration with the “aggressor state” a criminal offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Moscow is trying to pacify the occupied areas by canceling electricity and gas debts, offering Russian passports and playing their national anthem on the radio. Farmers have been ordered to start sowing, with promises of access to Russian markets.
Alexander Starukh, the head of the Zaporizhzhia regional administration, said journalists at the captured Sea of Azov port in Berdyansk were being forced at gunpoint to spread Russian propaganda. In some cases, Russian forces have responded to dissent with violence. The mayor of Novopskov in eastern Ukraine said protests by residents ended after soldiers shot three people and beat another.
Russian soldiers also transmitted a warning that they had permission to fire on protesters. And chillingly, European intelligence officials say Russia will also use public executions to break morale and quell any signs of unrest.