War in Ukraine: ‘Putin destroyed everything’, ex-pro-Russian Odessa mayor angered

Mayor of the Ukrainian city of Odessa, Gennady Trukhanov during an interview with AFP, May 20, 2022 in Odessa. (© AFP / Genya SAVILOV)

considered previously Politician with pro-Russian leaningsThe mayor of the Ukrainian city of Odessa, Gennady Trukhanov, is taking his time to discuss his feelings for Russia and President Vladimir Putin, who invaded the country on February 24.

“The Russians are currently on our land and they are bombing our cities and killing our people and soldiers,” Gennady Trukhanov said in an interview with AFP. for him, The point of no return has been crossed : There is no longer any question about Russian-Ukrainian friendship.

He criticizes the air raids, the blockade of the Black Sea and the millions of tons of grain stuck in ports, including Odessa. ‘Putin destroyed everything’smoke it

A political career with a turbulent past

Before the war, the 57-year-old forged his career in the turbulent world of Ukrainian politics as a Member of the pro-Russian ex-president’s party Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted by a pro-Western populist movement in 2014.

Despite the turmoil and the rise of opposition to Russia, Gennady Trukhanov continued his advance by assuming the post of mayor of Odessa, after a few months of bloody and tragic clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Kevin in this city.

today with Thousands of dead and millions displaced due to the Russian invasionThe mayor is upset at the mention of the threatening neighbor. Only 200 kilometers from Odessa for troops from Moscow, Mr. Trukhanov prefers to focus on defending his city, one of Ukraine’s main ports, essential for the export of food.

They are not only destroying our cities and killing our people, but also causing an economic disaster.

Gennady TrukhanovMayor of Odessa
A building damaged by a bombing on May 20, 2022 in Odessa, Ukraine.
A building damaged by a bombing on May 20, 2022 in Odessa, Ukraine. (© AFP / Genya SAVILOV)

“Occupiers and invaders”

While Odessa has so far avoided a ground attack by Russian forces, the city has suffered fatal explosions. Founded during the reign of Tsarina Catherine the Great, Odessa is a symbol of the glory of the Russian Empire with its Baroque architecture and the iconic “Potemkin Staircase”.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Odessa maintained it Close economic, cultural and family ties with Russia, which has a good reputation as one of the most Moscow-friendly cities in Ukraine. However, the opinions of the residents are changing with centuries of mutual goodwill reduced to ashes by Russian bombing.

With their missiles they believe that they spread terror among the population. In fact, they promote hatred against occupiers and invaders.

Gennady Trukhanov
Mayor of the Ukrainian city of Odessa, Gennady Trukhanov during an interview with AFP, May 20, 2022 in Odessa.
Mayor of the Ukrainian city of Odessa, Gennady Trukhanov during an interview with AFP, May 20, 2022 in Odessa. (© AFP / Genya SAVILOV)

“It’s a crime”

In between meetings, he makes his way through traffic in his black Range Rover to the site of a recent bombing. His hands clenched, and he nodded when locals ask him a series of questions about reconstruction and assistance.

“It’s a crime”55-year-old Igor Chpagin slides as he watches the large hole left by a Russian bomb in his apartment building last month, on full Orthodox Easter. “What can we do? This is a war between politicians.”Alexandre Groza is a retired police officer.

Municipal workers remove the debris of a building damaged by bombing, 20 AD 2022 in Odessa, Ukraine.
Municipal workers remove the debris of a building damaged by bombing, 20 AD 2022 in Odessa, Ukraine. (© AFP / Genya SAVILOV)

confusion

The timing of some of the bombings by the Russians leaves a population In confusion. On May 9, during the Great National Mass in Russia to celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany, Vladimir Putin laid flowers at a monument. In honor of the “hero cities” of the Soviet UnionIncluding Odessa.

A few hours later, a barrage of Russian missiles fell on the city. “What do you expect from someone who bombs children? People die here every day,” Alexandra Kaszenko, 29, denounces.

This is shocking to many of us. We (peoples) were brothers.

Gennady Trukhanov shares the confusion of his voters. The city councilor states that the Russians and the Ukrainians were defeated side by side within the Red Army, Nazi Germany in World War II.

Nobody can imagine that in 2022 our people, Ukrainian refugees, will hide in Germany from Russian missiles.

Gennady Trukhanov

Source: © 2022 AFP

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