November 30, 2022


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“Putin destroyed everything”: Former pro-Russian, Odessa mayor scolds Moscow

“The Russians are currently on our land, they are bombing our cities and killing our people and our soldiers,” he said. Trokanov said in an interview with AFP. According to him, an irreversible point has passed: there can be no more questions about Russian-Ukrainian friendship. He condemned the airstrikes, the siege of the Black Sea and the millions of tons of grain trapped in ports, including Odessa. “Putin has destroyed everything,” he said.

Before the war, the 57-year-old formed a career as a member of the party of former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in the turbulent world of Ukrainian politics, ousted in 2014 by a popular pro-Western uprising. The unrest and the rise of opposition to Russia continued its progress by becoming the mayor of Ontario, just months after the particularly deadly and tragic clashes between the pro-Russian and pro-Kiev cities.

Today, with thousands dead and millions displaced by the Russian invasion, the mayor is annoyed at the mention of a threatening neighbor. With troops coming from Moscow about 200 kilometers from Odessa, Mr.

“They not only destroy our cities, they kill our citizens, they cause economic disaster,” he said.

If Odessa had so far avoided a ground attack by Russian forces, the city would have suffered deadly bombings. Founded during the reign of Sarina Catherine the Great, Odessa symbolizes the glory of the Russian Empire with its Baroque architecture and its iconic “Bottomkin Stairs”.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Odessa maintained close economic, cultural and family ties with Russia, and Moscow has a reputation as one of the most friendly cities in Ukraine. Residents’ views are changing as centuries of mutual relations have been eroded by the Russian bombings.

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“Through their rockets, they think they are spreading terrorism among the citizens. In fact, they are reinforcing hatred against the occupiers and the occupiers,” Mr. Trokanov mentions.

In between meetings, he drives his black Range Rover through traffic to the scene of the recent bombing. He shakes hands and nods as locals continue to ask him questions about reconstruction and assistance.

The timing of some of the bombings by the Russians is confusing the citizens. On May 9, during a patriotic rally in Russia to celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany, Vladimir Putin laid flowers at monuments paying homage to the “heroine cities” of the Soviet Union, including Odessa. Hours later, Russian missiles crashed into the city.

“What can you expect from someone who throws bombs at children? People die here every day,” reprimands 29-year-old Alexandra Kassenko. “This is a shock to many of us. We (the people) were brothers.”

Gennady Trukanov shares the confusion of her volumes. The city councilor recalled that during World War II, Russians and Ukrainians in the Red Army defeated Nazi Germany side by side. “No one can imagine that in 2022 our people, Ukrainian refugees, will be hiding in Germany from Russian missiles.”