Medals, road signs, and statues were some of the early symbols of Russia’s conquest of parts of southern Ukraine, especially Mariupol.
This week, medals for “the liberation of Mariupol” were awarded by the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushlin, and a senior official in the United Russia party led by Vladimir Putin, Andrei Turchak.
DPR has been working hard to change road signs from Ukrainian to Russian – especially those at the entrance to Mariupol.
The southeastern port city has been under siege for several weeks, with efforts now focused on the Avostal steel mill. On Thursday, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: Russian forces “did not stop” bombing the station.
The plant is now being evacuated as civilians and soldiers are still trapped inside, with the “next phase” going on, according to Andrey Yermak, chief of staff to the Ukrainian president. More than 300 evacuees from the Mariupol region arrived in the city of Zaporizhia on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the DRC’s Ministry of Transport promised to continue work on replacing road signs in what it calls the liberated territories. A statue also appeared in Mariupol depicting an elderly woman holding a Soviet flag.
Petro Andruchenko, an advisor to the elected mayor of Mariupol, spoke bitterly about the growing number of Russian officials visiting Mariupol, including Sergei Kiriyenko, a senior Kremlin official – calling them “the custodians of Mariupol’s integration into Russia”.
Referring to the new statue, Androshiko said that the Russians had opened a monument to “an old lady carrying a flag on Warriors Liberators Square, which they stubbornly called the Leninist Komsomol”.
Androchenko also distributed new pictures Friday, saying that “in recent days, all traces of the Soviet era have been ‘restored’: the so-called ‘fist’ with eternal fire – and signs that say ‘for victims of fascism’ in Russian. [Also the] Monument to “Members of the Komsomol and the Communists” of the Primorsky District.
Although he is not in Mariupol, Andrushenko maintains connections with people who are still there and says that the Russian flag was also raised in the city hospital, spreading picture.
“The occupiers allowed doctors to work for the residents of Mariupol. The medical staff and doctors live directly in the hospital, and there is only outpatient treatment. The hospital is supplied with light through generators, and water – by water tankers.”
Also posted a file Brief video A screenshot from a vehicle on Prospect Myru showing the wreckage group. Like other Ukrainian officials, Androshenko claimed that “the task of recovering the bodies from the rubble is entrusted to the residents of Mariupol. Pay them – food.”
On the way to Zaporizhzhya from Mariupol, the route that most of those trying to escape from Mariupol must take, is the town of Tokmak, also under Russian occupation. The town entrance sign has been repainted in the Russian tricolor.
Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, the ruble is gradually being introduced, according to a community group on Facebook, government employees in the city of Yakimivka were told that if they wanted to be paid in Ukrainian hryvnia, “the occupiers would take two-thirds of the salary.”