Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-based administration in Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region, was buried in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Friday, the official RIA Novosti news agency reported. reported.
Stremousov, 45, died in an apparent car accident near the city of Henichesk on Wednesday, according to local officials.
The funeral ceremony was attended by the Kremlin’s First Deputy Chief of Staff, Sergei Kiriyenko; the Russian-appointed governors of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, Vladimir Saldo and Yevgeny Balitsky; and the leader of Crimea annexed to Russia, Sergei Aksyonov.
Stremousov is the most senior Russian-appointed official in occupied Ukraine to die since the invasion began. Known as an anti-vaxxer before the war, he enthusiastically welcomed the arrival of Russian forces in Kherson in March.
“His main task was to serve the people, to serve his country, his city. He walked the path of service honestly until the very end,” Kirienko said. said at the funeral ceremony.
Known for his extreme anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, Stremousov was among a group of officials whom the Kremlin had asked state media to quote less frequently days before his death, independent media outlet Meduza reported.
Last month Stremousov openly criticized the Russian Defense Ministry and its actions in Kherson in a telegram post, condemning the country’s “mediocre military leaders”.
As deputy head of the pro-Russian administration in Kherson, Stremousov was involved in holding a referendum on the region’s membership of the Russian Federation in September.
The referendum, in which joining Russia was backed by around 87% of voters, was widely criticized as a “sham” by the international community.