Kherson was one of the first Ukrainian cities to be occupied as a result of the so-called Russia’s “special operation”. To do this, the aggressor state used the occupied Crimea as a springboard for the offensive. This is due not only to the territorial proximity of the regions, but also the personal interest of Crimean collaborators in the occupation of Kherson and the region.

First of all, it is a question of “security” of the self-proclaimed “powers”, because by occupying Kherson Russian troops created a certain temporary “buffer” between the peninsula and mainland Ukraine. Secondly, and we have already written about this, as collaborators in the Crimea were interested in the restoration of water supply through the North Crimean Canal, which tried to solve the allegedly “very urgent social problem”. In early March, the occupiers managed to take Kherson and part of the region under control. This caused partial destruction of infrastructure and human casualties [1].

For the aggressor, Kherson region is important, because since the beginning of the war the occupiers kidnapped 11 heads and 8 municipal officials [2]. The purpose of such actions is to establish “total control” over communities and force them to “complete and unquestioningly submit”. But they miscalculated, because the local population has been actively resisting since the beginning of the occupation, going to rallies and condemning the occupiers.

Moreover, according to Kherson activists, they know that Ukraine has not forgotten about them, and constantly expresses support through the inspiring media [3]. The authorities did not forget about the occupied city, as the President of Ukraine issued a decree granting Kherson the status of “Hero City” [4]. Unfortunately, today the city is under occupation, and collaborators from Crimea are trying to play their part in this process. Experts of the Association of Reintegration of Crimea tried to analyze how today the self-proclaimed government of the peninsula supports the occupation of Kherson region.

From the moment of the occupation of Kherson, Crimean collaborators began to make quite ambitious statements, and, of course, without any coordination with the population of Kherson. Aksyonov, the so called “head of Crimea”, launched the campaign, saying that the majority of the population of Kherson and the region was “ready to get a Russian passport tomorrow” if “appropriate mechanisms will be established”. According to him, the occupied Crimea is already “receiving calls from the local population about this issue”.

It is clear that he did not provide any specifics of his fantastic statements, for example, data on from whom and from which locality there were “appeals”. This is very similar to the action according to a certain “methodic” of the aggressor’s citizenship, which came to the peninsula from the Kremlin. It is cynical enough to make such statements, despite the fact that Kherson residents oppose the occupation in every possible way and are not going to join the “Russian world”, the absurdity of which they have already been able to assess on the example of their Crimean neighbors.

Instead, the self-proclaimed “head of Crimea” did not stop there. It seems that he plans to solve not only the problem of water supply, but also the staff shortage at the expense of the population of the occupied Kherson region. In particular, he stated his “readiness to employ” Kherson residents and representatives of other regions in Crimea. It is noteworthy that Aksyonov singled out doctors and educators whose Crimean colleagues left the peninsula at the beginning of the occupation of Crimea.

However, he said that he would be “glad” to specialists in other specialties that the peninsula needs [6]. Strange enough policy: to destroy people’s lives, to bring them to a humanitarian crisis, and then offer jobs in Russian-occupied territory. This is probably how Russian leaders and their henchmen in the occupied territories see “help and support”. However, the self-proclaimed “head of the Crimea” Mr. Aksonov did not limit himself to these statements.

He stressed that in the near future residents of Kherson and the region will begin to “receive pensions and other social benefits in rubles”. Like, the lack of hryvnia in the Kherson region allegedly “leaves us no options” because people need to receive payments. Aksyonov also added that the region was almost a humanitarian catastrophe, and that “Kyiv allegedly left people to their own devices”.

For some reason, Mr. Aksyonov did not mention that the humanitarian crisis in the region was created by the Russian military, which did not provide a single humanitarian corridor, and Ukraine simply does not have the opportunity to support its own compatriots. Also, the self-proclaimed “head of the Crimea” forgot to mention that Kherson residents do not want to receive payments in rubles, and the cash hryvnia in the region has decreased due to hostilities. It is not entirely clear why Aksyonov is so actively trying to “decide the fate” of the Kherson region, it even seems that he plans that the Kremlin will allow him to rule another occupied region of Ukraine.

The insanity does not end there. Taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis in Kherson and the region, collaborators from the Crimea import goods there and demand that the local population pay for them in rubles. Our entrepreneurs are blocking these goods and trying to distance themselves from economic ties with the occupied Crimea. And this despite Aksyonov’s numerous statements that the peninsula “will establish relations” with entrepreneurs of the Kherson region [8].

The pro-Russian “authorities” of Crimea, of course, without prior consent, declare alleged “cooperation” with Kherson business. By the way, the representatives of the latter do not plan to cooperate with the occupiers, and on the contrary are trying to resume their work for the sake of the local population. Moreover, all payments are usually made in non-cash form to avoid the introduction of the Russian ruble [9]. Therefore, statements about cooperation between the occupied Crimea and Kherson region are, to put it mildly, premature.

By the way, most of the goods that the occupiers are trying to sell in Kherson for rubles are part of the so-called “humanitarian aid” that Crimea sent to the occupied region. So, this is probably also the Kremlin’s know-how: to sell “humanitarian aid”, which is allegedly imported to people who were allegedly “abandoned” by the Ukrainian authorities.

It should be noted that collaborators from the Crimea have to import “humanitarian aid” and its recipients, because Kherson residents refuse to take help from the aggressor despite the humanitarian crisis. Even on this, Russia wants to save. Currently, whole convoys of public transport with the mass drive to the occupied Kherson in order to create fake “news” about the receipt of Kherson “humanitarian”. At the same time, the occupiers use this very mass to hold fake “rallies” for the illegal “joining of the region” to the aggressor [10].

It is unlikely that Ukrainian business in the Kherson region will want to work with such “liberators”. Moreover, even Russian companies do not plan to enter the Crimean market after the imposition of sanctions for the war against Ukraine. According to many experts, there are several reasons for this business position. First, there are risks of tightening sanctions against such companies, and secondly, most of them have a share of foreign investment capital, whose representatives will oppose the decision to work in the occupied, sanctioned territory [11].

It is noteworthy that right now Mr. Aksyonov has such an “ardent desire” to establish business with entrepreneurs in the Kherson region. Earlier, only accusations were made against him. For example, in 2015, these allegations related to alleged “forgery of Crimean wines” by entrepreneurs from the Kherson region. In fact, as a result of Ukraine’s non-recognition of the Crimea’s attempted annexation, certain brands and production were then revived in the territory controlled by our state [12]. Also in 2015-2021, punitive occupiers massively confiscated goods produced in the Kherson region, including meat and dairy products, from citizens crossing the administrative border and arriving in Crimea.

Another area of pseudo-assistance, that the occupied peninsula plans to provide to Kherson residents is shelter for “displaced persons”. At the beginning of the large-scale war, Aksyonov reported that more than 30,000 “refugees” from Ukraine had already entered the peninsula, for whom “all the necessary conditions” were allegedly prepared: temporary accommodation, hospitals, dormitories, etc.

Of course, all issues related to the lives of such “refugees” are actively covered by the pro-Kremlin media, which creates a good picture of the alleged “salvation of the Ukrainian people”. However, according to Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova, the occupied Crimea is mostly used as a transit point from which Ukrainians are transported to mainland Russia. These are mostly so-called “depressed regions”, where living conditions and social security are extremely low [13]. Also, the self-proclaimed authorities of Crimea forget to say that some of these “refugees” were forcibly deported from the occupied Ukrainian territories, in particular from Mariupol [14].

It can be assumed that in order to organize the logistical issues of mass deportation of Kherson and Ukrainians from other regions to the territory of Russia, in the occupied Crimea everything is being done to establish a railway connection with Kherson. The self-proclaimed government has already announced such intentions, as well as plans to restore rail links with other regions of Ukraine, probably those that could potentially be occupied by the Kremlin [15].

Despite calls from collaborators to “build relations” with the occupied Kherson region, it became known that echelons of Russian armored vehicles have already been sent from the Crimea to the restored railways, destroying Ukrainian cities. This became the aggressor’s vision of “friendship and cooperation”. Probably the Ukrainian people did not expect anything else from the Crimean collaborators and Kremlin henchmen.

However, it should be noted that the rhetoric contradicts the real actions of the occupiers on the Ukrainian peninsula, who sell real estate on their way to Russia. According to experts, the fear of Putin’s service in the Crimea collapsed the real estate market on the peninsula and caused panic. Most likely, no one there is sure that “Crimea is theirs”. That is why we see such a discrepancy between slogans and real deeds.

And we can see how much the collaborators from the Crimea are trying to destroy everything that reminds of the non-recognition by Ukraine and the whole civilized world of the peninsula’s attempted annexation. Thus, at the end of March, the occupiers broke into the office of the Presidential Representation in Crimea, which is located in Kherson. They completely smashed the facility and took out all the equipment. Despite this, the office continues to operate remotely, and its representatives are evacuated to controlled areas, and continue to protect the rights of Crimeans [18].

In addition to the fact that Russia has used Crimea as a military base, it plans not to stop there and turn it into a center of deported peoples. The fact is that the Russian occupiers plan to deport ethnic Armenians, Azerbaijanis and Meskhetian Turks to the Ukrainian peninsula. The Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine became aware of these plans. In particular, it is a demonstration of the forced deportation of these citizens, as they actively oppose the occupation of the city and go out to protest. Losing control of the city, Russia wants to intimidate the citizens of Ukraine, so it resorted to such propaganda [19]. It should be noted that in this sense, the aggressor has considerable experience in destroying the fate of entire nations, because the aggressor once did the same with the Crimean Tatars and the same Meskhetians.

It is worth noting that Crimean collaborators, like the Kremlin, are very cautious in their statements about the fake “new status” of the Kherson region. In particular, Aksyonov himself does not comment on this issue, but only speaks of “the desire of Kherson to obtain Russian citizenship”. Probably this is because the strategy of the aggressor’s criminal actions against the occupied Kherson has not been chosen yet, and there are several illegal plans, that may be launched by the Kremlin in the Kherson region. The first “scenario” is a criminal attempt to fake the “joining” of the Kherson region and part of the occupied Zaporizhia region to the temporarily occupied Crimea [20].

Such a scenario is very beneficial to the self-proclaimed “authorities” of Crimea, as it will allow them to plunder Ukrainian territories in the future. The second scenario is related to the criminal fake creation of the so-called “Kherson people’s republic” following the example of the terroristic “Donbass republics”. To implement these plans, the aggressor tries to force local authorities to “cooperate” [21]. If the second scenario of occupation is realized, Crimean collaborators are unlikely to gain wide access to the theft of funds and property in the Kherson region, as the “leadership of the republic” will be brought by the aggressor from Russia.

Traditionally, in addition to Aksonov, the Kremlin’s repeaters are his “subordinates” who actually duplicate slogans and proclaim criminal intentions. Thus, the self-proclaimed “chairman of the Crimean parliament” Vladimir Konstantinov said that “the process of economic cooperation with the Kherson region will only progress”. At the same time, he stated that Crimea will take an active part in the process of “denazification” of the Kherson region.

According to Konstantinov, a promising area of cooperation is trade in agricultural products. Konstantinov also expresses hope that very soon “Russian tourists will come to the Crimea not only through the Crimean bridge, but also through Ukrainian territory” [22]. We wonder if Mr. Konstantinov himself believes in the reality of such statements, but now “denazification” should be understood primarily as a mass looting of the national economy of Kherson region.

The local “authorities” of the occupied Crimea also imitate active activities and collect “humanitarian aid” allegedly for the residents of Kherson region, as the fake “governor” of Sevastopol Mykhailo Razvozhayev states everywhere. Moreover, part of such “assistance” is collected almost compulsorily [23].

At the same time, the Crimean residents themselves began to protest against such a policy. They note that they “do not want to feed” other regions of Ukraine at a time when they are experiencing shortages and rising prices for food and basic necessities. Most likely, this is the result of anti-Russian sanctions, which we have already written about in previous materials. It is not just a matter of collecting a “humanitarian”, but of “voluntary” deduction of part of the salary of Crimean “state employees”, who are forced to write relevant statements [24].

Summarizing the above, we note that Russia’s war against Ukraine has demonstrated the absolute absence of Crimean collaborators of any morality and humanity. They simply continued to support the Kremlin’s policy of destroying its own state. The cynicism of the Crimean traitors is impressive, because for the sake of the Kremlin’s positive responses, they are ready to trade not only with the Motherland, but also with ordinary Crimean residents, living on the occupied peninsula.

Today, every initiative of Crimean collaborators has a selfish connotation in one way or another. They talk about “humanitarian aid” and use it to rob Crimean “state employees” and force Kherson residents to switch to ruble payments. Thinking about “establishing” cooperation, they simply use the region to solve the problem of water supply and plunder the agricultural sector of Kherson region.

They also note a “fate” of the Kherson region, planning how to steal “budget funds” in the occupied territories. However, Ukraine is confident of victory, as it is simply impossible to defeat its people. According to available information, Crimeans are also massively against aggression and tired of living in their “native haven”. This adds confidence in the future victory and deoccupation of all Ukrainian territories.