Putin succeeded in enraging Ukraine’s last supporters

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/Daily Beast/Getty

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/Daily Beast/Getty

Odesa, Ukraine — Russia is shelling the seaside Odessa city from those early days war in ukraine—but the key grain port has become a symbol of ongoing local resistance. pro-Russian faction Now accepting Ukrainian patriotism.

“The longer the war drags on, the fewer people in Ukraine feel sympathy for Russia. he told the Daily Beast on Tuesday. “Even the most openly pro-Russian politicians, including the mayor of Odessa … have become ardent enemies of Russia. [Russian president Vladimir] Putin government. ”

Odessa, with its vast grain storage and shipping resources, is a coveted target for Moscow. Russian missiles have been ravaging the city since the first days of the war. In March and her April, missiles killed dozens of civilians, including her three-month-old baby girl Kira, her Grodan, and her mother, her grandmother.

The tragedy angered Odesa, but the massacres did not stop. On July 1, one of his missiles hit his Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi apartment, killing 19 people. A few weeks later she said on July 20, “Russia launched eight of her missiles costing millions of dollars and our military shot it down, along with a Russian drone.” Natalia Humenyuk, a spokeswoman for the Southern Defense Forces, told The Daily Her Beast in an interview last week.

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Relentless attacks from Russia hardened local sentiments against Putin.”During the first week of the war, Odessa mayor Gennady Trukhanov, who many believed had Russian passports, was sent to Moscow. “We didn’t say anything to them,” local activist Julia Grodetskaya told the Daily Beast. Behavior and constant Russian violence have changed leadership and made local authorities more patriotic,” she said, adding, “All the former pro-Russian Odesans are ready to defend our city. ” he added.

This is not how Moscow planned. On the eve of the war, one of the Kremlin’s ideologists, Sergei Markov, told the Daily Beast that Russian forces would easily capture Odessa. “There will be a rapid landing of marines supported by the pro-Russian underground,” Markov predicted the development of the war in the Black Sea.

<p>After a missile attack on a warehouse of a trading company in Odessa on July 16.</p>
<div class="インライン画像__クレジット">Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty</div>
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After a missile attack on a warehouse of a trading company in Odessa on July 16.

Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty

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After a missile attack on a warehouse of an industrial and trading company in Odessa on July 16.

Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty

Instead, Odessa became a symbol of resistance and the pro-Russian underground collapsed. As thousands of refugees from nearby Mykolaiv and Russian-occupied Kherson flooded into the city, locals held up giant patriotic banners with messages warning of possible saboteurs and spies. rice field. One of them showed a Ukrainian slitting a spy’s throat. In the districts of Pushkinska and Bunin streets, more banners read: “If anyone touches Mama Odessa, Mama will bury her.”

Odessa also made a decision to remove all street names of the “aggressor country”, but gave Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed by 25,000 people a local sign commemorating Catherine II and Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. did not respond to petitions to demolish the monument. The city said it was not the right time to discuss pre-revolutionary monuments. Nevertheless, Mayor Turkhanov said it was cynical for Moscow to destroy Ukraine with missiles while describing it as a “fraternal nation.” “Odessa has suffered losses in this war. We don’t want to have anything to do with a state that is trying to remove our city, our country from the face of the earth,” the mayor said last month. said in an official statement.

Now Russia continues to shell Odessa, but there are signs of vibrant life everywhere. In the harbor, yachts sway gently in the late afternoon sun, but they have all stayed in dock this season as the Russians set mines in the surrounding waters. Still, the yacht club’s marina is bustling. On a recent Friday, musicians from local opera and philharmonic theaters gave a concert of Ukrainian songs for an audience of famous artists, writers and seasoned businessmen. Two powerful volunteer movements called On the Wave and Sandbox are working to save the gorgeous and elegant city. They surrounded cultural structures with sandbags, distributed armored vests and welded tank barriers.

Ukraine is preparing to ship 16 ships full of grain to the Turkish port of Izmir, ending a long drought in the city. Odyssen was looking at the smooth, bare Black Sea on Sunday. The first grain-laden ship is set to sail on Monday, but many fear Russia will attack the ship, despite agreements with Moscow and Turkey. “Our favorite ocean is like a battlefield,” former captain Dmitro Botskevsky told The Daily Beast. “Our military drone attacked the headquarters of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol today. Of course, there are concerns about the safety of the grain passage.”

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Led by yacht club director Albert Kobakov, local defense volunteers grew in number as the war dragged on. Hundreds of activists attended. “When the war started, I came here to show that I was not going to surrender,” said local activist Maya Dimerelli. She and Grodetskaya said their biggest concern during the first weeks of the war was that the city authorities would betray Odessa and hand it over to Russia.

<p>The aftermath of a missile attack on the village of Serhivka, Vilgorod-Dnistrovsky district, Odessa province, Ukraine, on July 1.</p>
<div class="インライン画像__クレジット">Ukraine National Emergency Service by Reuters</div>
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The aftermath of a missile attack on the village of Serhivka, Vilgorod-Dnistrovsky district, Odessa province, Ukraine, on July 1.

Ukraine National Emergency Service by Reuters

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The aftermath of a missile attack on the village of Serhivka, Vilgorod-Dnistrovsky district, Odessa province, Ukraine, on July 1.

Ukraine National Emergency Service via Reuters

Instead, Odessa businessmen felt dedicated to helping their city. From perfume shop owner Dmitry Malyutin to tourism company founder and historian Aleksandr Babich, the city’s elite opened the doors and helped volunteers. “I do not know how long our resistance would have lasted without our society. Their self-organization is fascinating, time is against Putin. Ukraineskaya Pravdathe legendary Ukrainian newspaper told the Daily Beast. “Politically we are winning the war. The whole world supports Ukraine.”

Odessa, keenly aware of the threat of a potential ambush by Russian troops from Transnistria on the one hand, and of advancing Russian forces on the other, decided to recruit thousands of volunteers to become soldiers in its territorial defense units. Captain Humeniuk, an officer of the Ukrainian National Border Guard and the voice of the Defense Forces in the Southern Region of Ukraine, told The Daily Beast that the city needed enough volunteers to fill one brigade, but instead He said he needed enough volunteers to fill three brigades. .

So for the time being, Odessa lives in a state of cautious hope. The commander-in-chief of Southern Operations, Maj. Gen. Andriy Kovalchuk, has been involved in peacekeeping operations in Liberia and the former Yugoslavia. Now, Kovalchuk and other military officials are carefully defending the city, explaining to the public why the beach was mined and closed, and giving updates on the war twice a day. The balconies of the city’s restaurants and cafes are crowded, and air-raid sirens go off several times a day, but visitors can still enjoy watching bands singing Ukrainian songs on central Deribasovskaya Street, or watching the gardens. You can always hear jazz music played at The Tolstoy family mansion.

“We are going to win this battle just like we fought in World War II,” swears a Russian-speaking theater director named Anna, whose Jewish family experienced the Nazi invasion. Before this war, she liked to say that she had a “Russian soul.” But now she says, “Odessa, the first heroic city of the Soviet Union, will also win this battle,” but this time against Moscow.

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