A Ukrainian resident of the Russian-controlled city of Kherson said the occupying troops have “already started to rape our women.”
Svetlana Zorina, 27, who lives with her grandmother in the Black Sea port city of about 290,000 people captured Wednesday, spoke with CNN about the dire situation and accused the invading forces of sexually attacking women.
“They already started to rape our women. There was information from people that I personally know that a 17-year-old girl — it happened to her and then they killed her,” she told host John Berman on Friday. These claims have not yet been independently verified.
Asked if city residents have mounted any resistance, she said that all people can do is “just to sit at home and take care of ourselves because we are scared.”
Zorina added: “We are terrified and scared but we are not going to give up.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Igor Kolykhaiev cited new rules for citizens after “armed visitors” stormed the city council, which included locals being allowed to go out only in pairs and drivers having to go slow and be “ready to show the contents of the transport at any moment.”
“The military will not be provoked. Stop at the first demand,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
In a separate interview on CNN earlier, Zorina said that despite the Russian occupation, Kherson is a “Ukrainian city and we want to stay a Ukrainian city.”
“Our city is… flooded with Russian occupants, but the flag is still Ukrainian and we hope it will stay Ukrainian,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “We trust our mayor. We trust our government. We trust our army. We believe in our victory.”
She added: “We try not to go outside because it’s dangerous. Today, for the first time, I realized to check near a store like a hundred meters from me, if they have some food, but there was nothing because we are surrounded by Russians, and it’s impossible to deliver here food or medicine.”
Zorina said that the city’s administration is still trying to communicate with its people amid Russian disinformation.
“Our mayor is in contact with us, and city administration is in contact with us. There are Telegram channels. There is a website of our mayor’s office, and they share information, spread information with us,” she told CNN.
“There is a huge propaganda that Russians tried to spread among Kherson and Ukrainian people, it’s like we want to become a part of Crimea. It’s not true. We don’t want to,” she said.
“The mayor just tells us how the city will function during the next couple of days, that transport will work for people who work in, you know, electric station, water station, et cetera.”