*The website of the BILD newspaper is no longer accessible in Russia. The Russian media regulator has blocked access to BILD.de, which like WELT is published by Axel Springer, for readers in Russia. WELT distributes the texts of the BILD colleagues so that readers in Russia can find out about facts beyond the Russian government propaganda.

This article in German.

How many people are now in Mariupol is unknown. Tens of thousands of people fled, countless people died. Those who remained in the city now face the same fate as people in other areas captured by Putin’s troops – life under Russian occupation and propaganda.

What is Putin’s plan for Mariupol?

After the capture of Mariupol by Russian invaders, the ideas of Kremlin propaganda began to spread in the city.

Namely: Russian propaganda in schools and on television, the abolition of the Ukrainian hryvnia and the introduction of the ruble, the new pro-Russian administration.

For example, Moscow sent three vans equipped with loudspeakers to Mariupol to broadcast state Russian television to the local population – now there is no talk of freedom of speech.

In addition, the invaders took control of the surviving schools. The first measure: the Russian curriculum and the extension of the academic year until September.

Further steps:

▶︎ Russian mobile operators take over local networks

▶︎ From June 1, pensions will be paid in rubles

▶︎ Residents of Mariupol (as well as the population of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions) can obtain Russian passports.

On May 21, the Russian army announced that after several weeks of siege, Mariupol was taken under control. Prior to this, the last of more than 2,400 Ukrainian soldiers of the Azovstal metallurgical plant surrendered.

Putin’s troops entered Kherson two months ago.

Telegram reported that soldiers in Kherson allegedly broke up protests by local residents who were protesting the transfer of control of the city to Russia. At the same time, the Kremlin-appointed mayor of Kherson, Oleksandr Kobets, described the pro-Ukrainian protests as “limited” and “expected.”

However, residents are very worried. They are worried, for example, about how, in the conditions of the closure of Ukrainian banks, their salaries will be paid.

By controlling Kherson and parts of the Zaporozhye region, the Kremlin wants to create a strategic land link between the Moscow-controlled territories of Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

In Kherson, the Russian army behaves rather cautiously. There are numerous checkpoints in the vicinity of the city, and patrols can be seen near dense forest areas.

In Skadovsk, a small port city on the Black Sea, 100 kilometers south of Kherson, passers-by do not want to talk about their life under Russian control. Vera Mironenko, a single mother, says she had to quit her job at the store and live on her savings.

Mironenko complains about “sky-high prices” for food, as well as the inability to get medicine. “We are waiting for life to return to normal,” the woman says.