The deputy governor of Kherson imposed by Russia, Kirill Stremousov, who had confirmed a 24-hour curfew to “be able to defend the city”, has deleted the video in which he confirmed it and has re-released a similar publication but in which He avoids talking about the exceptional measure.
Stremousov had launched this Friday a publication on his Telegram channel where he assured that “terrorist attacks are possible”, with which he called on the population to “give the military the opportunity to continue with the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine”.
The Russian occupation authorities had issued this Friday a “curfew 24 hours a day” in the Ukrainian city of Khersonbefore the advance of a counteroffensive of the kyiv forces to reconquer it.
“A 24-hour curfew has been declared in order to defend our city,” the number two of the authorities installed by the Russian occupiers had declared on Telegram, Kirill Stremosovwithout giving more details.
“Terrorist attacks are possible, provocations are possible. We must give the military the opportunity to continue with the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine,” Stremosov stressed, according to official Russian agencies.
Therefore, the retracted exception measure was given in a context marked by a new evacuation order of Kherson announced this Friday by the Russian president, Vladimir Putinin response to the major counteroffensive launched by the Ukrainian forces.
Russia completed a first phase of the evacuation a week ago, although a few days later the pro-Russian authorities decided to extend the evacuation perimeter by an additional 15 kilometers.
Kherson is the last Russian-occupied city on the western bank of the Dnipro, the river that divides Ukraine. Western officials said it would be “impossible” for Putin to maintain a military presence across the river if Kherson fell.
The capture of the city was first great russian victory after the February invasion, when troops burst from the Crimea in a rapid advance.
However, with the arrival of the boreal winter, the Russian generals seem to have decided abandon your position on the west bank of the Dnipro and concentrate on fortifying their posts on the east bank.
“They have decided that Kherson is not worth fighting forbut that natural defensive barrier of the river is very valuable to them,” a Western official told The Times.
There are signs of a possible withdrawal, but Ukraine is wary of them because they come from Russian sources as well, which could hide a trap from Putin. Photos of the main administrative building of the city of Kherson without the Russian flag. kyiv did not give them credit.
Natalia Humeniuka military spokeswoman for southern Ukraine, warned: “It could be a particular provocation, in order to create the impression that the settlements are abandoned, that it is safe to enter them, while preparing for street battles,” she said.
Russian supply lines, already badly damaged, suffered a new hit this week when a pontoon bridge about nine kilometers from Kherson was damaged. Images posted on the Internet suggest that American rocket launchers Himars they shot six missiles against the bridge.
Western officials are waiting to see if this setback sparks further criticism of the Kremlin; hardliners resent what they see as the invasion’s calamitous mismanagement.
Officials said Russian forces were staying without ammunition and that the Kremlin was importing artillery shells from North Korea. After Putin ordered the recruitment of 300,000 menthe newly mobilized troops appeared at the front without weapons.
Kirill Stremosovdeputy head of the Kherson civil-military administration, insists that life is “going on as normal”.
A pro-Russian leader in southern Ukraine said that Moscow would probably he will withdraw his soldiers from the west bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson, and urged the civilian population to withdraw, which could indicate a withdrawal that would be a setback for Russia’s war.
(With information from AFP, Europa Press and Reuters)