SATURDAY 30 JULY 2022
The Russian government is planning to hold “referendums” in the occupied regions of Ukraine as early as September. They have already issued passports (newborns are registered as Russian citizens), replaced the currency with the ruble, put internet through Russian servers and arrested hundreds who have resisted.
The referendums, which will inevitably go in favor of Russia (in Crimea the pro-Russia vote was 97%), will give Putin a reason to declare the areas Russian territory, protected by Russian nuclear weapons, making any attempt to reclaim the territory more difficult.
It would be the largest territorial expansion by force since WWII.
They have “invited” residents to join election commissions. There is a new pro-Russian newspaper in the Zaporizhzhia region.
“Annexation by force will be a gross violation of the U.N.Charter, said John Kirby, “and we will not allow it go to unchallenged or unpunished.” Who knows what that means.
The school curriculum has been changed to a Russian one. Access to Russian television was considered so important that set-top boxes were distributed and even in some cases delivered to residents.
The mayor of Kherson spoke in a video interview about the situation. His assistant was abducted by pro-Russian occupying forces days later.
Open confrontation seen earlier in the war has largely ended in the occupied regions. Instead, people go out at night and paint Ukrainian flags on buildings.
Vessels are getting ready to transport the first grain shipments since the war began. If the grain sits long enough in the ports, it will spoil.
Russian Prison Camp Bombed
Ukraine called on the UN and the Red Cross to investigate an explosion that ripped apart a prison camp holding Ukrainian prisoners.
Many had fought to defend the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works. Earlier in the week, the Russian embassy has tweeted out that these men should be hanged and “humiliated.” They don’t have the problem now.
A recent graphic video showed a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian prisoner.
There were those who argued that the attack on the prison camp was intended to cover up the torture and mistreatment of the men held there.
Prisoners recently released from the camp described “hellish conditions.” There was almost no food and there were regular beatings.
Russia has cut off Latvia from its supply of Russian natural gas. Latvia had announced that it would pay for the gas in euros not as Moscow demanded, in Rubles.
Russia had already cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands and Denmark.