Pro-Moscow authorities call for a Russian military base in Kherson, Russian state news agency reports on Tuesday. Kirill Stremousov, deputy leader of the Russian-installed administration in Kherson, was quoted by Russian state news outlets as saying, “In the Kherson region, the Russian Federation should have a military installation. This is something we will request, and it is something that the entire public is interested in.”
In mid-March, the Russian military seized control of parts of the Kherson region, and Russian-backed officials claim to have taken over a number of government positions.
Officials in Ukraine think that half of Kherson’s population has departed the region, with many claiming to be fleeing Russian domination.
Russian plans to push through a vote on a “Kherson People’s Republic” that would parallel the creation of Russian-backed separatist statelets in eastern Ukraine appeared to have stalled.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, says Kyiv is ready for a prisoner swap with Russia “even tomorrow,” and urges allies to keep the pressure on Moscow up.
“The exchange of people — this is a humanitarian matter today and a very political decision that depends on the support of many states,” Zelensky said Monday via videoconference to an audience in Davos.
“It is really important, that the whole world does not beg Russia, no matter the circumstance, or to make concessions to Russia,” he said.
“[They must] keep the political pressure on any way they can, through powerful business connections, through the closure of businesses, oil embargo, and through threats, real threats of sanctions, thwarting business, we can actively intensify the exchange of our people for Russian servicemen.”
“We do not need the Russian servicemen, we only need ours. We are ready for an exchange even tomorrow,” Zelensky said.