Kherson official claims Russians abusing civilians who want to leave

Civilians trying to leave Russian-occupied Kherson are being harassed and blocked by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian officials.

Yurii Sobolevskyi, the deputy head of Kherson regional Council, told Ukrainian television Friday: “The way out of city has been complicated. There are some cases when people managed to get out, even by a bus, but most people get turned back. All the junctions are blocked.”

Sobolevskyi claimed that “there are cases when they [Russian forces] commit abuses at the check-points: very thorough frisking, forcing men to undress, looking for tattoos.”

Russian soldiers frequently check Ukrainian civilians for what they see as nationalist and neo-Nazi tattoos.

Sobolevskyi said that mobile connections and internet access had been restored so that people in Kherson could communicate with their families in other parts of Ukraine.

He said the Russians were trying to introduce the ruble on an experimental basis in some communities.

Some context: The southern city of Kherson was the first Ukrainian city to fall under Russian control, and since then scores of people have been trying to flee. Over the past weeks, harrowing allegations of rape and brutality at the hands of Russian forces have emerged in the Kherson region.

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