Russian troops have “already started to rape our women,” said a Ukrainian resident of the Russian-controlled city of Kherson.
The invading forces were accused of sexually attacking women by Svetlana Zorina, 27. She lives with her grandmother in the Black Sea port city of about 290,000 people captured Wednesday. The woman spoke with CNN about the dire situation there.
“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.
When asked if any resistance has been put in place by residents, Zorina said all that the people can do is “just to sit at home and take care of ourselves because we are scared.”
She added: “We are terrified and scared, but we are not going to give up.”
New rules for citizens were cited on Wednesday by Mayor Igor Kolykhaiev after “armed visitors” stormed the city council. The new rules 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.
On CNN earlier, in a separate interview, Zorina said that Kherson is a “Ukrainian city and we want to stay a Ukrainian city,” despite Russian occupation.
“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.”
“Our mayor is in contact with us, and city administration is in contact with us. There are Telegram.”
Amid Russian disinformation, Zorina said that the city’s administration is still trying to communicate with its people.
“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.”