Russia is preparing for a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kherson region. According to Russian sources, the Ukrainian army has gathered tens of thousands of soldiers to liberate occupied territories. According to their own statements, the Russian occupation authorities are therefore withdrawing completely from the regional capital, Cherson.
The head of the Russian occupiers, appointed by Russia, Vladimir Saldo, told the Russian broadcaster Rossiya 24 on Wednesday: “From today, all government structures of the city, the civil and military administration, all ministries, will be moved to the left bank of the river (the Dnipro, from the north considered) relocated”. However, the Russian army will fight the advancing Ukrainian troops in the city “to the death”.
Earlier, Saldo announced to the state news agency Tass that around 50,000 to 60,000 people will be taken to the east bank of the Dnipro or to Russia. The “evacuation” is expected to last about six days. Boats are already waiting, said Saldo. Residents of the area are said to have already been informed of the plans via SMS.
His deputy, Kirill Stremousov, called on the civilian population via Telegram to leave the regional capital of Kherson. The Ukrainian military will soon begin an offensive against the city of Kherson, Stremusov said. “I asked you to take my words seriously and to implement them: the fastest possible evacuation,” he wrote on Wednesday night. So far, however, the situation is “stable” and a possible offensive has not yet begun, Stremoussow told TASS on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the occupiers announced on Wednesday morning that the resettlement of residents had begun.
The new supreme commander of the Russian occupying forces in Ukraine, Sergey Surovikin, admitted on Tuesday evening that the situation in the region was difficult. The situation can be described as tense, said Surovikin in an interview with Rossiya 24. “The enemy is targeting infrastructure and residential buildings,” said the commander-in-chief.
In the past few weeks, Russian troops west of the Dnipro have been pushed back by 20 to 30 kilometers. There is a threat that the Ukrainian liberators will push them to the west bank of the river. From there, it would be difficult for them to get to the rest of the Russian-controlled area. Artillery hits made Ukraine’s crossings over the Dnipro impassable, Surovkin also told Rossiya 24.
The city of Cherson fell into Russian hands in March as the only Ukrainian regional capital. Before the war almost 300,000 people lived in the city. President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the region to Russia in October, which led to sharp criticism internationally – among other things, a clear majority in the UN General Assembly had condemned the sham referendums.
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