'Putin destroyed everything,' says Odessa mayor

World

Published: 2022-05-21 15:58

Last Updated: 2022-07-04 18:49


'Putin destroyed everything,' says Odessa mayor
'Putin destroyed everything,' says Odessa mayor

Once derided as a Kremlin sympathizer, Odessa's Mayor Gennady Trukhanov likes to collect his thoughts before delving into his feelings about Russia and President Vladimir Putin, according to AFP.

"The Russians are on our soil today and they are bombing our cities, killing our people and our soldiers. Our people are dying," the mayor of the southern Ukrainian port city told AFP.

"It is hard for me to speak of any kind of future friendship or relationship. I can't imagine that," the mayor added, his steel-blue eyes flashing as he rails against Russian air strikes, the Black Sea blockade and the millions of tonnes of grain trapped in his ports.

"Putin destroyed everything," he fumed.

Before the war, the 57-year-old Odessa native carved out a polarizing career in Ukraine’s raucous political scene as a one-time member of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s Kremlin-backed party that was overthrown by a popular uprising in 2014.

But even as unrest rattled Ukraine and anti-Russian sentiment surged, Trukhanov continued to rise through the ranks and was elected mayor of Odessa only months after Yanukovych was ousted and violent clashes over the fallout rattled the port city.

But now, with thousands dead and millions displaced in the wake of Russia's military operation, the mayor bristles at the mention of Moscow.

With Russian troops just 120 miles away, Trukhanov oversees the defense of the country's most valuable port amid a suffocating Russian naval blockade that has unleashed economic catastrophe in Ukraine and threatens famine elsewhere if Odessa’s bountiful stocks of grain remain landlocked.

"They are not only destroying our cities and killing our residents, they are also triggering an economic collapse," the mayor said.