Military think tank: Russia withdraws officers from Kherson

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s military leadership withdrew its officers from the Russian-annexed city of Kherson, across the Dnieper River, in anticipation of an advance by Ukrainian troops, the Institute for Defense think tank said. the War Study on Sunday.

To delay the Ukrainian counteroffensive while the Russians complete their withdrawal, Moscow has left newly mobilized and inexperienced forces on the other side of the wide river, he added.

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

On Saturday, Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine told all Kherson residents to leave immediately ahead of the expected action by Ukrainian troops to retake the city.

Kherson has been in Russian hands since the first 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 placed under Russian martial law on Thursday.

On Friday, Ukrainian forces bombarded Russian positions across the province, targeting pro-Kremlin forces’ resupply routes across the Dnieper River and preparing for a last-ditch attempt to retake the city.

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

The Ukrainian military said on Sunday that Russian forces are now mostly on the defensive, but continue to attack Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and in several cities in the eastern Donbass area.

Nine regions of Ukraine, from Odessa in the southwest to Kharkiv in the northeast, saw attacks again on energy and other critical infrastructure over the past day, the Ukrainian general staff said. It reported a total of 25 Russian air strikes and more than 100 missile and artillery strikes in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian counteroffensive forces in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions attacked Russian installations, in particular in the city of Nova Kakhovka, and carried out 17 airstrikes in the overall campaign, according to the Ukrainian general staff.

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

Russian S-300 missile strikes hit a residential neighborhood in the city of Mykolaiv overnight, wounding 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. The reports could not be immediately verified.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s security service said on Sunday it had detained the former head of a major aircraft engine factory, accusing him of collaborating with Russia by supplying military equipment for Russian attack planes.

Viacheslav Bohuslaiev, chairman of the Motor Sich plant in Zaporizhzhia, and another senior factory official were accused of collaborating with and “aiding the aggressor state.”

The Ukrainian security service SBU said in a statement that the two 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 manufacturers in Ukraine and has been a key manufacturer of aircraft engines since Soviet times. Its facilities have repeatedly been the target of Russian attacks during the war. Engines made by Motor Sich were used to equip Russian helicopters before supplies stopped following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.


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