By Mar Traspaderne
Odesa, Ukraine, Mar 28 (EFE).- Odesa mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov, known for his pro-Russian track record in Ukraine’s politics, has said he would not cooperate with Russian troops nor any Moscow-backed regime in the country.
In an interview with Efe, Trukhanov discussed the situation in the Black Sea city, which remains relatively calm despite the encroachment of Russian troops in southern Ukraine.
“If I end up in an occupied city, I will not cooperate (with the Russians),” he tells Efe.
“I was elected by the people of Odesa and I depend on the citizens of Odesa. I will only work for those citizens of Odesa and Ukraine,” the politician, a former member of the pro-Russian Party of Regions, added firmly.
The Thai boxing expert spoke to Efe wearing military fatigues following a press conference to give an update on the state of affairs in the port city, which for weeks has been preparing for a Russian advance.
A number of Russian missile strikes have hit Odesa’s suburbs, but it has so far been spared the horrors that have been unleashed on the likes of Mariupol, Kharkiv and Kyiv, the capital.
His city hall executive has organized provisions for refugees while hospitals work around the clock but it has also decided to confront the war with culture and humor, which include plans to plant 1,800 flowers and to hold comedy acts on April 1 to mark the traditional Humorina festival.
The people of Odesa are renowned in Ukraine, and across the former Soviet Union, for their strong sense of humor.
“With war in our country, humor is a weapon we can use.”
Since the outbreak of war, around 200,000 of Odesa’s roughly one million inhabitants have fled the city, the mayor said, adding that the figure had stabilized due to others returning.
The city is also famed for its classic and modernist architecture, the neo-Baroque opera house and the Potemkin Stairs, for which the mayor has requested Unesco status.
The mayor hopes that Russian troops do not advance further than Mykolaiv, a city near the front line some 150 kilometers east of Odesa.
In recent days, Odesa has received 489 tons of provisions, four ambulances and a fire truck loaned by authorities in Marseille, France.
Trukhanov, a captain in the Ukrainian army, is, like many in the region around Odesa, a Russian-speaker. He also used to work for Lukoil, a Russian-multinational.
Perhaps for this reason he wanted his message to Russia to leave no room for doubt.
“I hope the Russians’ common sense prevails. If there is any humanity left among Russia’s leaders, they must understand that they cannot safeguard the security of Russian citizens by conquering other countries and killing peaceful civilians.” EFE