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Officials backed by Moscow attempt to consolidate control in Ukraine





Russian passports have been issued to residents in one city since Sunday, as settlers in occupied southern Ukraine celebrated Russia Day. Moscow has been consolidating its rule over this area of the country.



Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti reports that Russian bands performed at one of Kherson's central squares in celebration of Russian Day, the holiday that commemorates Russia's emergence as a sovereign country following the collapse of the Soviet Union.



The Russian flag was also flown on a highway leading into Mariupol on Russia Day, as was the case in other parts of the country occupied by Russia, such as the devastated southern port of Mariupol, where a new city sign debuted with the colors of the Russian flag.



Although there have been protests and signs of insurrection, Kremlin officials in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia have expressed a desire to integrate the regions with Russia.



President Vladimir Putin earlier this year issued a decree fast-tracking Russian citizenship for residents of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. In captured cities in the south and east, Moscow has also introduced the ruble as official currency, aired Russian news broadcasts and taken steps to introduce a Russian school curriculum.



13 June 2022

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