Medals, signs and statues were once some of the early symbols of Russia’s occupation of parts of southern Ukraine, and especially Mariupol.
This week, medals “For the liberation of Mariupol” were presented by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) leader Denis Pushilin and a senior official in Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. , Andrei Turchak.
DPR has gone to great lengths 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 plant. On Thursday, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian forces “relentlessly” shelled their factory.
According to Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the President of Ukraine, the factory is currently being evacuated as civilians and soldiers are still trapped inside, with the “next phase” underway. More than 300 evacuees from the Mariupol area arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday.
North Korea’s Ministry of Transport promised on Thursday that work on replacing road signs in what it calls liberated territories will continue. A statue has also been erected in Mariupol, depicting an elderly woman holding a Soviet flag.
Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to the elected mayor of Mariupol, spoke bitterly about the increasing number of Russian officials visiting Mariupol, including Sergey Kiriyenko, a senior official at the Kremlin – describing they are “the one in charge of Mariupol’s integration into Russia.”
Referring to the new statue, Andrushcheko said the Russians had opened a monument “to an old woman with a flag on Warriors Liberators Square, which they stubbornly call the Komsomol of Leninism.”
Andrushchenko also distributed new photos Sixth, says that “in recent days, all the monuments of the Soviet era have been “restored”: the so-called “fists” with eternal fire – and signs with the text” To the Victims of Fascism “in Russian. [Also the] monument ‘Komsomol members and communists’ in Primorsky district. “
Although he is not in Mariupol, Andrushchenko maintains links with those still there and says the Russian flag has also been flown at the city hospital, and posted a picture.
“The occupiers allowed the doctors to work for the people of Mariupol. Medical staff and doctors lived directly in the hospital, only outpatient treatment. The hospital was supplied with light through generators. , water – by the water transporter.”
He also posted a brief video Photo taken from a vehicle on Prospect Myru showing the collection of debris. Like other Ukrainian officials, Andrushchenko stated that “the job of removing bodies from the wreckage was left to the residents of Mariupol. Their pay – food.”
On the road to Zaporizhzhia from Mariupol, the route most people trying to get out of Mariupol take, is the town of Tokmak, which is also under Russian occupation. The town entrance sign has been repainted in Russian tricolor.
According to a Facebook community group, government employees in the town of Yakymivka have been told that if they want to be paid in Ukrainian hryvnia “the occupiers will have to forfeit two-thirds of their salary.”