“Pensioners are a tool. Russia wants to hold pseudo-referendums in the near future” – Head of the Luhansk OVA Serhiy Gaidai

Russia was going to attract pensioners to sort out the rubble in Severodonetsk not in order to give them the opportunity to earn money, Sergey Gaidai, head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration (OVA), told The Insider. In his opinion, the Russian occupation authorities want to collect data on those whose votes can be counted in "pseudo-referenda". At the same time, the work to which they want to attract pensioners is life-threatening, they must be carried out by professional sappers with experience, equipment and equipment.

“For the occupation authorities, data on the number of pensioners is a certain tool. Who can go to the polls, missing the Soviet Union, or, conversely, who will not go and be interested in the fate of their vote - these are just people of retirement age. The invaders want to quickly hold some kind of pseudo-referenda in the near future, so that after the capture of the Luhansk region, if they succeed, they will continue to submit all documents for joining the Russian Federation. They go this way."

He added that if the Russian authorities thought about people, they would not shoot cities and wipe them off the face of the earth. They could announce that there will be battles for the city and give several days for the evacuation of civilians, Gaidai reflects. At the same time, no one made such an offer, the evacuation was carried out "at your own peril and risk." According to Gaidai, no matter how much they agreed with the Russian side on the evacuation, buses with people still came under fire.

Gaidai stressed that no public services and the Ministry of Emergency Situations are currently working in the occupied territories, so the Russian side is trying to involve pensioners in clearing the rubble. In addition, the Russian Federation wants to hide the number of dead under the rubble.

“There are dead people under the rubble. Then they will take these corpses and simply cremate them or bury them somewhere in mass graves so that no one can count the number of those killed due to Russian shelling. This is what we see now in Mariupol: people work for food or they are simply invited to pay some big salaries. But utilities that call men to work with big salaries are a trap. We have many such examples, people are talking about it.”

Gaidai explained that utilities advertised salaries two to three times the average. According to the ads, men come, get a job and sign a contract with them. However, the next day, the military commissars take them to the army to fight against Ukraine. The head of the OVA clarified that the removal of rubble for pensioners is very dangerous in terms of unexploded shells and mines. He cited the example of the war in Yugoslavia, after which the territory of the country was cleared of mines “for 12 years”, and still sometimes “something explodes” there. According to him, in Ukraine the density of shelling was much higher than then.

“The number of unexploded ordnance – no matter what it is: an aerial bomb, an artillery shell, a mine, Grad or Smerch (we were fired upon with everything that the Russian army is armed with) – more. Of course, this is very unsafe. If we want to save the lives of our citizens, then this should be done by professional sappers with certain experience, equipment and equipment.”

The Russian army captured Severodonetsk at the end of June. This was announced by the mayor of the city Alexander Stryuk: “The city is completely under the occupation of the Russian Federation. They are trying to establish their own order there, they have appointed their own commandant, who is collecting some kind of asset there. The city is so destroyed that it will be difficult for people to cope with this situation.”

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