The Russians keep evacuating civilians from the Kherson region.
Things are not looking good for Putin’s troops. The Ukrainians are on the rise and are gradually recapturing their homeland. The next goal: the entire Cherson region. At the beginning of the war, the Russians had been able to gain land there.
Last month Russia annexed the territories it had conquered. Now Putin’s troops are withdrawing more and more from the region. Not only the soldiers are withdrawn, the Ukrainian civilians have to go too.
“We will withdraw”
‘Our forces will probably withdraw to the left side of the river. All people who have not yet managed to leave Cherson must do so as soon as possible, »said the deputy chief of administration Kirill Stremousov on Thursday.
According to the Russians, around 70,000 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 Crimea peninsula or to Russia.
The governor of Cherson appointed by Moscow, Vladimir Saldo (66), justified this with the risk of “massive rocket attacks” by the advancing Ukrainian army. Ukraine, on the other hand, interpreted this as a “deportation” of its citizens by Russia.
«Dilemma between military and political logic»
On Thursday, the Russian flag waving atop the administrative building in the city of Kherson disappeared. A sign for the deduction? For the Ukrainian journalist Natalia Humenyuk, this is more of a deception. “We shouldn’t rejoice too soon,” she said, according to the RBC-Ukraine news agency.
Because the Russians would not just give up without a fight, and certainly not the Kherson region. “These are certain provocations designed to give the impression that inhabited areas have been abandoned and that it is safe to enter.”
High symbolic importance
Putin’s troops were able to take the city right at the start of the war. A reconquest would also be of great symbolic importance for Ukraine.
Putin’s troops are in a bind. “It’s a classic dilemma between military and political logic,” strategy expert Marcel Berni (34) from the Military Academy at ETH Zurich told Blick in mid-October. Militarily it is difficult to keep the occupied areas in Cherson. But Russia is under pressure. It’s about prestige.
Elite units are deployed to the area
In fact, Putin’s troops are apparently preparing for a major battle. It is still unclear whether there is actually fighting for the city of Cherson. But according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), despite Stremousov’s testimony, the Russians are establishing defensive positions northwest of the city and would also be moving more soldiers there. Including elite units of the airborne troops and marine infantry. Retreat looks different.
The Russians are really preparing to leave the area as soon as possible, explains Kyrylo Budanov (36) from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in an interview with “Ukrayinska Pravda”. But probably only as a last resort to be able 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 the city streets for defense,” Budanov said.
Putin’s troops are afraid of being surrounded, like the Ukrainians in Mariupol. Ukrainian soldiers had entrenched themselves in the Azov steelworks for weeks and tried to hold the position. In the end they had to admit defeat. (jmh)