The Russians are evacuating civilians from the Kherson region.
Things are not looking good for Putin’s forces. Increasingly, Ukrainians are gradually reclaiming their homeland. Next destination: the entire Cherson region. At the beginning of the war, the Russians were able to gain land there.
Last month, Russia annexed the territories it had seized. Now Putin’s forces are increasingly withdrawing from the region. Not only would the soldiers be recalled, but Ukrainian citizens would also have to go.
“We will withdraw”
‘Our forces will turn to the left side of the river. All people who have not yet left Cherson should do so as soon as possible,” Kirill Stremosov, deputy head of the administration, said on Thursday.
According to the Russians, around 70,000 people have already been evacuated. And there should be more. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry in Kyiv said on Thursday that the Russian occupation administration had begun bringing citizens from the Kherson region to the annexed Crimean peninsula or to Russia.
The Moscow-appointed governor of Cherson, Vladimir Zalto (66), justified this with the risk of “massive rocket attacks” by the advancing Ukrainian army. On the other hand, Ukraine interpreted this as deportation of its citizens by Russia.
“The Confusion Between Military and Political Logic”
On Thursday, a Russian flag fluttering atop an administrative building in the city of Kherson went missing. A sign for subtraction? For Ukrainian journalist Natalya Humenyuk, it’s a hoax. “We shouldn’t be happy too soon,” he said, according to the RBC-Ukraine news agency.
Because the Russians will not give up without a fight, certainly not the Kherson region. “These are some provocations designed to give the impression that residential areas have been abandoned and are safe to enter.”
High symbolic importance
Putin’s forces managed to capture the city early in the war. A recapture would be of great symbolic importance to Ukraine.
Putin’s forces are in a bind. “It’s a classic confusion between military and political logic,” strategist Marcel Berni (34) from the Military Academy at ETH Zurich told Blick in mid-October. Militarily it is difficult to hold the occupied territories in Kherson. But Russia is under pressure. It’s about honor.
Elite units have been sent to the area
Indeed, Putin’s forces are preparing for a major war. It is not yet clear whether there is actually a fight for the city of Cherson. But according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), despite Stremoso’s testimony, the Russians are establishing defensive positions northwest of the city and will move more troops there. including elite units of air forces and marine infantry. The retreat looks different.
In an interview with “Ukrainska Pravda”, Kyrillo Budanov (36) from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense explains that the Russians are actually preparing to leave the area. But perhaps only as a last resort to escape in an emergency. “The Russians give you the impression that all is lost. At the same time, they are setting up new military units and preparing city streets for defense,” Budanov said.
Like the Ukrainians in Mariupol, Putin’s troops fear being encircled. Ukrainian soldiers have been entrenching themselves at the Azov steel plant for weeks, trying to capture the site. Eventually had to admit defeat. (jmh)
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