ATO Is Coming to Kherson: Rada Is Ready to Vote for Martial Law in South Ukraine

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Ukrainian Parliament will consider until the end of the autumn session the bill on the dissolution of local councils of the Kherson region and the introduction of “military-civil authorities”. The text of the new law is already ready and was submitted to the committees of the Rada. In fact, it is similar to martial law. This is possible only in the area of the “Anti Terrorist Operation”.

Who needs an “anti-terrorist operation area” in seemingly peaceful Kherson region? The neighbouring Russian Crimea, but this is not the main point. Maidan politicians shout the loudest that “the local population gravitates towards Russia”. Officials loyal to the Poroshenko regime are afraid of the possibility of the imminent appearance of Kherson people’s Republic. The people of Kherson themselves are openly talking about their disgust for the current Kiev authorities. It seems that the threat of harsh criminal punishment for separatism can’t stop people anymore. Kiev understands that they will be obliged “to burn cotton” [separatists – ed].

It is already the third week that there was a mass transfer of Ukrainian troops and military equipment in the region. The “South” operational-tactical group (OTG) was dramatically enhanced. Punisher columns are moving in the rear from nearby Donetsk-Mariupol. Heavy armored vehicles, including self-propelled artillery and BTR vehicles, are being sent to the south border with Melitopol military base No. 3840, which is in the neighbouring Zaporizhia region.

The district’s administration ask people to “remain calm”, and “not to spread rumors and panic”. Many believe that the army is being transferred for possible provocations on the Russian border. It seem not so terrifying than a cleansing of “pro-Russian elements”.

Only in 6th of October in the Kherson region did the large-scale artillery exercises end. Together with artillerists on the site of the military location, the fifth tank brigade from the OTG South arrived. Day and night all artillery systems were working on the training grounds, who were effectively destroying the populated settlements of Donbass. Live firing was conducted using 152-mm D-20 howitzers, BM-21 “Grad” MLRS systems, and 82 and 120 mm mortars.

The spine of the incoming units are the natives of Western Ukraine, the most faithful and capable of which is considered to be the newly reconstructed 15th mechanized brigade that surrounded Genichesk. It was formed from the remnants of battalions defeated in the “ATO zone”. I.e. in Kiev’s terminology – “highly motivated and professionally trained servicemen who received combat experience in the East.”

Now the Galician dialect sounds in all towns and villages of all the Kherson region. Besides the military, the Southern territory is actively saturated by civil newly-arrived settler-Banderists. There is no official data, but according to circumstantial signs, the mass migration of the nationalist-minded Galicians is ongoing. Those who have arrived isolate themselves apart and are watchful. Some of them are in the tourist industry. Others are supposedly families of servicemen, they do not work anywhere, however they do not live in poverty, and money is clearly present.

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Skadovsk is a well-known Kherson-known resort on the Black Sea coast. Residents of Western Ukrainian become so numerous that there was a need to open the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. Recently in the Orthodox Skadovsk, the United Church of the Intercession of the blessed virgin was sanctified. The name is not accidental. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists — Banderist OUN – considers the holiday of the Intercession of the Day of its foundation. The celebrations of the consecration of the new Greek Catholic Church were attended by two dozen priests-uniates and many “lay people” in camouflage and embroidery. As the local press wrote, people from different parts of Ukraine.

Together with envoys of Lvov, Ternopil, and Volhynia, the South territory is being populated “by veterans of the ATO”. It was officially stated that it is precisely these hardened-in-punisher-operations militants will be able to retain control over the troubled region. “Veterans” already received 605 plots of land for their properties. The process is ongoing, and new land development projects of the total area more than 2158 hectares is adopted.

There is no free land, and it means that the ATO soldiers are obliged to take from other owners. And it is clear that the mood of locals corresponds to what is going on. They rob and beat demobilized soldiers, destroy the memorials of “heroes”, in the village of Shirokaya Balka they destroyed the monument to Taras Shevchenko. Another characteristic of the local mood – they thwarted the plan for the recruitment of contracted servicemen for ATO. Even half of the prescribed tasks wasn’t fulfilled, even considering rural poverty.

…The endless tomato fields are a symbol of the true wealth of the Kherson region. Or more precisely, was wealthy before. Today, on the huge plantations the useless tomatoes are plowed into the ground.

Alas, the huge Russian market is lost. The founder of “Chumak”, the honorary Consul of Sweden Carl Sturen, patriotically talks about the victory over the “aggressor country”, but is obliged to admit that production becomes too problematic:

“To use the Ukrainian brands in Europe makes no sense, they already have their own brands that were created a long time ago. Moreover, we have a more Ukrainian name, which is not very comprehensive for them… the only option is to work under someone’s brand or, for example, with contacts that have their own brand. The company “Chumak” still has a factory in Skadovsk. It was decided to stop production. There is the idea to convert the object into touristic real estate.

Ordinary villagers called this autumn the “tomato catastrophe”. Just a month ago they were bringing tomatoes to the wholesale markets and desperately tried to offer them even for a kopeck. And now they understand they’ll have to put them under the plow. A bumper harvest is still unharvested, because it is much more cheaper to plow the land than to collect and sell them.

Entrepreneur Natalya Oksenyuk from Volyn [Western Ukraine – ed], buys Kherson tomatoes directly from the fields. She takes the best at the price of 1.80 UAH, and in her Kovel she sells it wholesale at UAH 3.50. But she also complains that there isn’t much custom. “I drove a few trucks, many times, and now I use a minivan. There is a lack of money everywhere! People don’t have money, we don’t have sales,” said Mrs. Oksenyuk in an interview with the national TV channel “1+1”. The channel belongs to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.

In the peak season, Kherson farmers sold their harvest to middlemen for a pittance. While officials wear embroidery and wisely suggest to develop their understanding about European standards, to cooperate, to look for buyers in the EU. “For trade with the EU necessary certificates are needed. Getting a certificate takes at least a year. We  asked all to retrain, and those who heard it moved to industrial crops,” explains the Director of Department of agroindustrial development of Kherson regional state administration Alexander Palivod.

It’s true, in Western Europe Ukrainian industrial crops are one of most in demand — primarily canola, sunflower and soybean, which quickly suck all the fertility out of the fields. Emergency trans-shipment port terminals are urgently built for them in the village of Kozatskoye and the town of Golaya Prystan. Europeans do not want to cultivate the same canola. Because these crops cause the death of the soil.

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So, guys, sow genetically-modified soybeans from Monsanto Company and you will be happy. Soon the last village idiot will understand — that Europeans don’t need excellent Kherson tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They already don’t know where to sell their own ones! There are also surplus products in other Ukrainian regions. Great “ukies” everywhere switched to subsistence farming and feed themselves with it. While the people of the Kherson region remember well how profitable it was to sell harvest in neighbouring Crimea. The agricultural system of southern Ukraine was initially focused on the vast Crimean market. The seasons of 2014-2015 were super successful — the Peninsula switched to the Russian prices and the incomes of Kherson farmers increased exponentially.

Everything was finished over a year ago, when “Right Sector” gangs and thugs from the banned in Russia Tatar Mejlis blocked the border throughout the Sivash. The terrorist-“blockaders” stopped trucks with guns and didn’t allow hundreds of thousands of people to live with dignity and peaceful trade. The tragic farce of this autumn: at the edge of the bridge on Chongar, two hundred possessed-by-demons gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of the blockade. “I would kill these rabid dogs!” – this is the most polite comment to the “activists” from the residents of Chongar.

Following the trade blockade, Kherson’s power lines were blown up. The Crimean blackout, which incredibly pleased the ukro-Nazis, started. In fact, however, during all this time, the Kherson region continued to give electricity supplies to Crimea. This is a fact confirmed by the first Deputy Chairman of regional state administration Vadim Chaban. According to him, a complete shutdown should not be allowed, otherwise the stoppage of the chemical industry giant of the plant “Crimean Titan” can lead to a huge industrial disaster — and the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea would be the first to turn into a dead zone.

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“The flourishing of the Kherson region will be the best step towards the return of Crimea to the bosom of Ukraine!” in all seriousness stated the MP of Ukraine, first Deputy head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Science and Education Aleksandr Spivakovsky. A respectable crowd gathered in Sochi at the IX International Investment Forum “Tavrian horizons”. Mr Spivakovsky literally sang Hosannah to the border region, which “could become a transport hub or a tourist Mecca”.

At this forum he strongly recommended the Kherson citizens to take up wind and solar energy, and the recycling of biomass. Particularly interesting is biomass. The thesis is simple: “The Ukrainians have 35 million hectares of plowed land. If you burn one-third of the straw that is in the field, it can replace as an energy source 20 billion cubic meters of gas. And this figure, “in fact, represents all imports from Russia…”

The question remains to be answered: how long can one exist in this feverish phantasmagoria? “Instead of gas we’ll heat with straw,” I remember Yulia Tymoshenko promised, after having being sat in Prime Minster’s chair after the “Orange revolution”. Five years was enough for the “independent state” to gradually recover.

However, at this time there wasn’t five million “illegal” guns in the hands of punisher battalions. The current “revolution of dignity” turned out to be much more horrifying. The time will come when the initiators of the introduction of the military-civilian administrations will need this straw once again.

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