Russo-Ukrainian War 5/25/22

Russian forces occupying a Ukrainian military base near Radensk, Kherson (image via Russian Ministry of Defense)

Russia has sought to consolidate its gains in occupied Ukraine, attempting to establish a sense of permanence despite ongoing preparations for offensives across the Donbas.

According to Ukrainian military officials, up to 50% of Kherson Oblast’s residents have fled. Russia has been setting up command centers across Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and mining roads and infrastructure. Fighting in Kherson has somewhat stalled on the Russian side, at first thought to be an attempt to freeze the conflict in the area, though analysts are raising new concerns that Russia’s southern offensive could restart to push for Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih. Kherson’s occupation authorities have repeatedly sought integration with Russia; though, in the early stages of the war, a referendum was cited, ongoing civil resistance and reported partisan warfare have led to Russian officials likely asking Russia directly for annexation.

Putin recently signed a decree fast-tracking citizenships for people in occupied Ukraine, including Kherson. Offering citizenship/passports has been a common Russian strategy for establishing control over the population. In 2019, Zelenskyy jokingly offered Russian citizens Ukrainian citizenship, back when Putin streamlined the application process for citizens in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk.

In Crimea, officials discussed phasing English out of their school curriculum, a move that would only further seek to alienate Russia’s population from objective media.

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