Hundreds of demonstrators have flocked the streets of Russian-occupied Kherson to protest against suspected Russian plans to turn the southern Ukrainian oblast into a breakaway republic.
In recent days, at least one Kherson regional council official warned that occupation forces were laying the groundwork for the “Kherson People’s Republic.” If true, the move would mirror Moscow’s establishment of two breakaway states in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Ukraine considers those breakaway regions — the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic — to be Russian occupied.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of those two territories in the days leading up to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine as part of his pretext to launch an assault on the country.
“A referendum on the creation of the HPR (Kherson People’s Republic) is being prepared in Kherson region,” wrote Kherson region council member Sergey Khlan in a Facebook post on Saturday calling on fellow council members to boycott meetings with Russian occupation forces.
“Become a part of Ukrainian history as citizens, whose names will be remembered by next generations, not as dispensable traitors,” he added.
Demonstrators in Kherson on Sunday morning waved Ukrainian flags, chanted anti-Russian slogans and shouted expletives at Putin, videographer Artem Ivanov, who is on the ground in Kherson, told CNN. “Kherson is Ukrainian,” “Putin is a