Retreated by the ongoing Ukrainian offensive, Russian forces are in danger of being trapped in the Dnieper River.
The new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine said the situation in the Kherson region has become “extremely difficult” as Ukrainian forces are pressing ahead with an offensive to retake the southern and eastern regions of the country, and Moscow is preparing to evacuate civilians for weeks. after annexing the area.
Sergei Sorovikin, a Russian Air Force general appointed on October 10 to lead the invasion, said the situation in Kherson was “extremely difficult” for both Russian civilians and soldiers.
“The Russian army will first of all ensure the safe evacuation of the population” in Kherson, Surovkin told Rossiya 24 state television.
He added that “the enemy does not abandon its attempts to attack the positions of the Russian forces.”
Russian forces in the region have retreated 20-30 kilometers (13-20 miles) in the past few weeks and are in danger of facing the 2,200-kilometre (1,367-mile) West Bank. The Dnieper River, which divides Ukraine.
Sorovikin said Russian positions in the eastern Ukrainian towns of Kobyansk and Lyman and the northern Kherson region between Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih were under constant attack.
“The situation in the ‘special military operation’ area can be described as tense,” Sorovikin told Russia 24.
Kherson is one of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces that Russia claims to have annexed It is arguably the most strategically important. It controls both the only land route to Crimea captured by Russia in 2014 and the mouth of the Dnieper River.
After holding referendums in September that Ukraine and its allies said were illegal and coercive, Putin announced the annexation of the eastern border provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk – which together made up the industrial region known as Donbass – as well as Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south.
No place for civilians
Vladimir Saldo, the Kremlin-appointed head of the Kherson region, said that the authorities decided to evacuate some civilians due to the risk of Ukrainian army attack.
“The Ukrainian side is mobilizing forces for a large-scale attack,” Saldo said in a video statement. He said that the Russian army was preparing to repel the attack, and “Where the army operates, there is no place for civilians. Let the Russian army accomplish its mission.”
Ukraine and Russia denied targeting civilians, although Kyiv accused Russian forces of war crimes.
Sorovikin seems to acknowledge the danger of Ukrainian forces advancing towards Kherson, which Russia had captured largely unopposed in the early days of the invasion.
Surovkin has been dubbed in the Russian media “General Armageddon” after his service in Syria and Chechnya, where his forces bombed cities to shatter them in a brutal and effective scorched-earth policy against their opponents.
His appointment was quickly followed by the largest wave of missile strikes against Ukraine since the start of the war.
The raids continued this week as Ukrainian officials said they were flying Iranian-made “Kamikaze drones”, Shahid-136, which flew to their target and exploded.
Iran denies supplying the drones, and the Kremlin on Tuesday denied using them.
“Russian technology is being used,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, referring to other questions to the Defense Ministry.
However, two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters news agency that Tehran has promised to provide Russia with more drones in addition to surface-to-surface missiles.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia destroyed nearly a third of Ukraine’s power plants in the past week. In his nightly video chat, he urged Ukrainians to cut back on electricity consumption in the evening.
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