“Euphoria blooms in blue and yellow as Russian troops pull out of Kherson”, Daily Maverick

By Liubov Abravitova, Opinionista, Johannesburg, 14 Nov 2022 2

Liubov Abravitova is the Ambassador of Ukraine to South Africa.

Saturday, 12 November, was truly surreal — in a very good way. In real time, we watched our beautiful city come to life as our heroes entered the city. It began in the morning, with people hanging Ukrainian flags in the city centre to greet their liberators.

Before I share our news of defeating Russian terrorists in Kherson, I want to quickly address something. This week I’ve had the displeasure of coming across yet another delusional propaganda article by Russia’s ambassador to South Africa Ilya Rogachev. The piece itself is neither factual nor intelligent, therefore not an interesting read, but if you are interested in tonnes of Russian propaganda material that will be presented at the Hague Tribunal, it might be what you’re looking for.

All I want to say to the journalists who had to listen to that embarrassing propaganda nonsense is this: if you want to know how to tell if the Russian ambassador (or any Russian government official) is lying, it’s every time he opens his mouth.

A simple Google search will give you all the verified facts on every morally robbed part of text in that comedy piece. Honestly, it’s not hard to find. And since the ambassador is so keen on giving you false facts starting from 2014 when Russia first attacked Ukraine, I urge you to find real facts.

You can read about the Russian president and all of his government lying through their teeth about their attack on Crimea. They lied to the whole world, stating over and over that they had no boots on the ground in Crimea. All of them claimed, in official statements, that armed forces in Crimea were not Russian soldiers. They lied for years, calling their military in Crimea “self-defence units” created by locals that had bought military uniforms and weaponry in nearby military shops.

Back then, just like the Russian ambassador to SA is lying to you now, the Russian Ambassador to the EU, Valeri Chizhov, was giving interviews to Euronews, lying straight to their faces by saying: “There are no troops whatsoever, no Russian troops at least.” The same was said by Vladimir Putin just a few days after that.

And now? Now they went from, “We weren’t there!” to “Of course, we were there. We didn’t hide it!” The Russian propaganda machine always lied, it always promoted hate and incited violence and continues to do so to this day — just read the ambassador’s interview.

False threats

All Russian propaganda can do is create a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist. Russians were literally hysterical a few weeks ago, ringing every bell that we had had “dirty [nuclear] bombs” made. Putin was clinging to that “dirty bomb” lie like he invented it himself. We invited everyone willing to come and inspect any facility Russia was claiming had been used for creating nuclear weapons. And do you know what happened next? Nothing. Like it never happened. Disgusting, despicable Russian lies.

I know that Putin has claimed he doesn’t own a smartphone, so he probably doesn’t understand how the internet works and that is why Russian foreign office officials spew false information left and right as if they can’t be fact-checked.

I can offer to buy Russian officials a few smartphones — Ukrainians are excellent at fundraising — maybe it will help to get Russia away from barbarism and into 2022. Just let me know, ambassador. But I digress, let’s talk about Ukraine’s armed forces defeating Russian terrorists in Kherson!

Tears of joy

Saturday, 12 November, was truly surreal, in a very good way. In real time, we watched our beautiful city come to life as our heroes entered the city. It began in the morning, with people hanging Ukrainian flags in the city centre to greet their liberators. And in no time at all, the city bloomed in blue and yellow.

All of the Ukrainians watched — and played every single video from our soldiers hundreds of times. People were crying tears of joy, proudly flying their flags and trying to thank every Ukrainian soldier they could find.

Saturday was absolutely glorious. I am overjoyed with happiness for every Khersonian. And although we all know the immeasurable price our heroes paid for the liberation of our beautiful city on the sea, and we know that in the days to come we are going to discover the atrocities committed by Russian terroristic armed forces in Kherson, yesterday was a happy day. A day that will be celebrated for years to come, a day of victory and hope.

The brave city of Kherson was occupied for more than eight months. Khersonians were killed, tortured and raped by Russians for more than eight months. We will document every war crime Russians have committed in Kherson and they will pay for it.

As I wrote last week, Russians have cleared out the city. They’ve robbed every store, every pharmacy, every business. They’ve stolen supplies and medical equipment from every hospital and emergency room. They’ve cleared every museum and dug up the remains of historical figures. And, may I remind you, Putin held a referendum in Kherson and, according to Russia’s constitution, Kherson is theirs. So this is how Russia treats its citizens — stealing every single ambulance and city bus from them.

Disgusting. Despicable. Shameful. True cowards. There’s a video of Russian troops stealing a kids’ train from a children’s amusement park and a beloved raccoon from the Kherson zoo.

Khersonians have no water, very little power and no electricity, but they are home, they are free and they are happy. One of the women from Kherson told our soldiers on Saturday that the most frightening thing in the world for them was quiet, because then they thought that Ukraine had stopped fighting for them. We never did. All of our land will be liberated! Glory to our heroes! Glory to Ukraine!

I know all of the internet is filled with photos and videos from Kherson, but, I want to show you just this one photo.

Ukrainians in Kherson buried their national flags in glass jars to prevent Russian occupiers from discovering them. (Photo: Supplied)

This is how Ukrainians saved their flags for eight-and-a-half months: they put them in glass jars and buried them. Having a Ukrainian flag in your home meant Russians would torture and execute you. This image will be with me forever.