Russia withdraws officers from Kherson ahead of advance

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KYIV, Ukraine – Russian military leaders have withdrawn their officers from the Russian annexed city of Kherson across the Dnieper River in anticipation of an advance by Ukrainian troops, the Russian think tank said on Sunday. Institute for the Study of War.

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To delay the Ukrainian counteroffensive as the Russians complete their retreat, Moscow left newly mobilized and inexperienced forces across the wide river, he added.

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The troop movements come as the Ukrainian army said its forces continued their counter-offensives in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

On Saturday, Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine told all residents of Kherson to leave immediately ahead of the expected action by Ukrainian troops to retake the city. Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed regional administration in Kherson, said on Sunday that more than 20,000 civilians had been evacuated to the left bank of the Dnieper.

He said that as Ukrainian forces attempted to push their offensive to the right bank, Russian defensive lines « were reinforced and the situation remained stable ».

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Kherson has been in Russian hands since the early days of the eight-month war in Ukraine. The city is the capital of a region of the same name, one of four that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month and brought under Russian martial law on Thursday.

On Friday, Ukrainian forces shelled Russian positions across the province, targeting pro-Kremlin forces’ supply routes across the river and preparing for a final push to retake the city.

The ISW think tank also said on Sunday that Russia’s latest war strategy to target power plants in recent days appears to be aimed at diminishing Ukrainians’ will to fight and forcing the Ukrainian government to spend resources. to protect civilians and energy infrastructure. He said the effort was unlikely to harm Ukrainian morale, but would have a significant economic impact.

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Russian attacks on electricity sources have forced the emergency suspension of fertilizer production at a major chemical plant, Rivneazot, in northwestern Ukraine. The company said on Sunday that the suspension posed no environmental risk.

The mayor of Enerhodar, home to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, reported an attack on a hotel used by Russian occupation forces and those collaborating with them. It is not known if anyone was injured.

Ukraine’s military said on Sunday that Russian forces were now mostly on the defensive, but continued offensive attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure and several towns in the eastern Donbass region.

Nine regions across Ukraine, from Odessa in the southwest to Kharkiv in the northeast, have again seen attacks targeting energy and other critical infrastructure over the past day, the official said. Ukrainian General Staff. He reported a total of 25 Russian airstrikes and more than 100 missile and artillery strikes around Ukraine.

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Ukrainian counteroffensive forces in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, meanwhile, targeted Russian-held facilities, including in the town of Nova Kakhovka, and carried out 17 airstrikes during the overall campaign. , according to the Ukrainian General Staff.

In a Telegram article on Sunday, the Ukrainian military claimed to have destroyed 14 Iranian-made Russian drones in the past day.

Russian S-300 missiles hit a residential area in the city of Mykolaiv overnight, injuring three people, according to the Ukrainian army’s southern command. Two apartment buildings, a playground and a warehouse were damaged or destroyed, he said in a Facebook post. Footage posted to Telegram by local media and officials showed an apartment building with a sheared side and piles of rubble amid puddles of water on the adjacent land.

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Governors of two Russian regions that border northeastern Ukraine said defensive lines were being built, apparently in anticipation of cross-border attacks as Ukrainian troops advanced.

Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit said on Sunday that two defensive lines in the region had already been built and a third would be completed by November 5.

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said defensive lines were also built in his area. On Saturday, he posted photos of rows of pyramid-shaped concrete blocks meant to block armored vehicle traffic.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian security services said on Sunday they had arrested the longtime head of a major aircraft engine factory, accusing him of collaborating with Russia by supplying military equipment for Russian attack jets.

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Viacheslav Bohuslaiev, chairman of the Motor Sich factory in Zaporizhzhia, and another senior factory official were charged with collaboration and « assisting the aggressor state ».

Ukraine’s SBU security service said in a statement that the two men are accused of colluding with a Russian arms manufacturer close to the Kremlin to supply Ukrainian-made engines and spare parts to Russian forces. The SBU described a complex scheme using intermediaries in three countries to evade sanctions against Russia.

Motor Sich is one of the leading Ukrainian manufacturers and a key manufacturer of aircraft engines since Soviet times. Its facilities were repeatedly targeted by Russian strikes during the war.

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