Russians leave Kherson, Ukrainians fear a trap

BÜLENT KILIC / AFP An elderly woman walks in the village of Arkhanhelske, Kherson region, which was previously occupied by Russian forces, on November 3, 2022. (Photo by Bulent Kılıç / AFP)


The village of Arkhanhelsk in Kharkiv Oblast, annexed to Russia.

WAR IN UKRAINE – What is happening in Kherson? Vladimir Putin’s soldiers have disappeared, the Russian flag has been removed from administrative buildings… The Ukrainian city in the province of the same name annexed by Moscow during the controversial membership referendums held in September has apparently been abandoned by the Kremlin. the army. But Ukrainians are afraid of a trap.

In mid-October something suddenly changed. “ Fewer medical vehicles crossed the bridge” He explained the marking of demarcation with territories controlled by RussiaAFP Ukrainian fighter named Grease », a retired policeman is now a soldier. “ Something happened”.

Same observation for journalist Jimmy Ruhston. “Something very interesting is happening in the city of Kherson, where the Russian flags at the checkpoints have disappeared. Once it was in the hands of Russian troops, now it is abandoned.” he describes on Twitter, Thursday, November 3.

“Provocation”According to the Ukrainian army

In his second message, he shares a video of how the residents of this city in the southeast of the country are happy to be able to spend a day. checkpoint now abandoned by Russian soldiers. “There are no more armored vehicles, all checkpoints controlled by the Russians have disappeared”, a resident confirms to CNN. Cédric Mas, an expert on military history, added on Twitter that the army would evacuate all its heavy equipment.

Kirill Stremousov, the head of the region sent by Moscow, confirmed these observations in an interview. “Russian troops are holding the city for now. But we’ll probably go to the East Coast.” Dnepr, he said on Thursday. Another proof that the Russians left the city of Kherson, built on the west bank of the river and occupied by the invader since the beginning of March.

However, Ukrainian military spokeswoman Natalya Houmenyuk is far from happy. He even expressed his concern recently: “While they (the Russians) are preparing for street fights, it can be provocative to create the impression that these places are abandoned, that it is safe to enter there. » He warns that foreign soldiers in civilian clothes will still parade through the city.

Kherson is a strategic city

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also shared his doubts in an interview with an Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra From October 25. “I don’t see the Russians leaving, they claim it’s a strategic withdrawal. In reality, they are not ready to leave the territory, even if there is a risk of being surrounded by our troops.”he declared.

Moreover, Russian forces have been evacuating thousands of people in the Kherson region for several weeks. Kyiv condemns it “forced displacement” who breaks serious international law”. “Those currently living in Kherson should be removed from the most dangerous war zones”Vladimir Putin was vindicated this Friday, November 4, the region is a place of heavy clashes.

Very little confirmed information is being released and it is very difficult to know what really happened. Does Russia release Kherson? Is it to draw in the Ukrainian army, encircle it and withdraw to prevent it from escaping through the natural barrier that is the Dnieper? Only the next few days and weeks will clarify the situation.

The only indicator this Friday: by the Russian authorities a “24 hour curfew” in the city of Kherson “To be able to protect our city”, in a video on Telegram, Kirill Stremoussov, the deputy head of the Russian occupying power in Kherson, called on the maximum number of residents to leave the city. However, the video was changed a few minutes later without mentioning the earlier curfew and denying this earlier information.

The Ukrainian city of Kherson, which was occupied by the Russians, was built on the right bank of the Dnieper River.
Google Maps The Ukrainian city of Kherson, which was occupied by the Russians, was built on the right bank of the Dnieper River.

Google Maps

The Ukrainian city of Kherson, which was occupied by the Russians, was built on the right bank of the Dnieper River.

Kherson is a military trap, but the city is also a great political symbol. Seized by the Russians at the start of the war, it allows Moscow to have a land link with the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed in 2014. Its loss could open the way to the Sea of ​​Azov, which is very strategic for Ukraine in its commercial plan. , and threatens Moscow to strangle Crimea.

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