Kherson to continue integration into Russia: Authorities
Despite the EU's refusal, the deputy head of the Kherson regional military-civil administration affirms that “our region will become an integral part of the Russian Federation.”
The deputy head of the Kherson regional military-civil administration, Kirill Stremousov, was quoted by Sputnik saying that the Kherson region will continue its integration into Russia despite the EU's refusal to recognize Russian passports issued in the region.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced, on Friday, that the European Union will not recognize Russian passports issued to residents of Ukraine's Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as well as from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
"The Kherson region will continue to integrate into Russia, despite any statements and stances of the European Union. Our region will become an integral part of the Russian Federation, and no one can prevent this. Russian passports have been issued and will be issued in the region. More and more residents of the Kherson region will become citizens of Russia," Stremousov added.
He highlighted that he, along with regional administration head Volodymyr Saldo, will be among the first people in the Kherson region to obtain Russian citizenship.
"I will be proud of this and I will know that I am a citizen of a free state in which my culture and values are strong. The residents of the Kherson region are grateful to the President of Russia [Vladimir Putin], who made it possible for us all to feel like an integral part of one big whole," he tersely stated.
Stremousov told Sputnik on Tuesday that the Kherson region plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia, and that it is expected that at least 60-70 percent of the local population will agree to join Russia. He later clarified that the referendum will be held only after the situation in the region has been fully stabilized.
He also stated that banks that are integrated into the Russian banking system are expected to open in the Kherson region within the next few days.
It is worth mentioning that the Russian military has already seized control of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Local military-civilian administrations have been established, Russian TV channels and radio stations have already begun broadcasting, and trade ties with Crimea have been restored.