The journalist, special envoy to Ukraine and contributor to Atalayar, took to the microphones of the programme "De cara al mundo" to analyse the situation in Kherson and Odessa

María Senovilla: "In Kherson I heard the testimony of a mayoress who was tortured for 16 days because she did not want to collaborate with the Russians"

photo_camera AP/PAVEL DOROGOY - View of the central square after the shelling of the City Hall building in Kharkov, Ukraine

In the latest episode of "De cara al mundo", on Onda Madrid, we have the participation of María Senovilla, journalist special envoy to Ukraine and collaborator of Atalayar, who as every Friday analyses the progress and the situation in Ukraine, especially in Kherson, where she tells of the persecution to which Ukrainians have been subjected under the Russian administration.

These days you have been in Kherson, what have you found there?

This week in Kherson the testimonies I have been able to gather have been terrible. Testimonies of the persecution to which the Russians have subjected Ukrainian citizens, both so that they would betray people who were loyal to Zelenski's government, and also when it came to holding these illegal referendums. They were also trying to get support from MPs, from mayors, or rather former mayors, because Russia set up its own administration.

I collected the testimony of a mayor who was tortured for 16 days in Kherson because she did not want to collaborate, did not want to issue Russian passports and did not want to legitimise before her neighbours the illegal referendums that were held at the end of September. These were all terrible testimonies, far worse than those I had seen in places like Kharkov which, although occupied by the Russians, did not hold referendums and did not have as strong a Russian administration as the four capitals that did.

Do you think that the backing Zelensky has received in Washington will give the Ukrainians the capacity to continue resisting and even be offensive in order to regain lost ground?

Morally, I don't think that this will make any difference because the Ukrainians have never been deflated in the arduous task of defending their homeland from the aggression to which it is being subjected by Russia. It is true that these long-range weapons that are now being sent might change Russia's military strategy. We do not know because Russia has already surprised us several times with unexpected twists and turns and we know that it can change its strategy at any moment. The last thing I saw was that Putin has, logically, taken a stand against arms and demanded that in order to negotiate they stop transmitting aid. We know that this is not going to happen and may even make the situation more tense.

On the ground, people are still without electricity and heating, because the Russian attacks are going to destroy these kinds of installations, although they are trying to recover them, how have you experienced the last few days in the whole area?

In Kherson, just before the Russians withdrew, they blew up the power plant, which was the junction that connected all the small power plants for supply. That's why Kherson, in the first days after liberation, was in an absolute black out, there was no Internet, no electricity, absolutely nothing. It's true that workers came from Nicolayev and Odessa, and they have revived part of the electricity grid.

I would say it's worse in the city of Odessa. The days I was there, there were days when I had 3 hours of electricity supply a day, and the heating in most places depends on the electricity supply. It was practically impossible to work. The businesses that were open were all based on generators and the solidarity of the shops was enormous because they had sockets so that we passers-by could plug in and plug in our mobile phones, computers, or whatever we had with us to work. The thing is that in Odessa the weather is not as harsh as in Kharkov, but there were days when it was -5º, and it was hard to be in the street to charge the computer or to work.

Well, the points that you have always been telling us about invincibility, where you feed people hot food, are those points still doing their job?

These points continue to do their job and we have seen that, in addition to schools and other infrastructures, they have set up tents. Also, for example, in shopping centres where there are big generators, people can use them as invincibility points, and when you go there you can find a person drying their hair with a hairdryer or a man shaving with a razor because people pull from wherever they can. Imagine a day with 21 hours of power cuts, how do you organise your life in that situation?