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Russian war commander admits Kherson's situation is 'very difficult' | Russia-Ukraine war News

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Russian forces have been repulsed by an ongoing Ukrainian offensive and are at risk of being stranded on the Dnieper river.

The new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine said that as Ukrainian forces launched an offensive to retake the southern and eastern parts of the country, the situation in the Kherson region had become “very difficult” and Moscow had been preparing to evacuate civilians for weeks. after annexing the region.

Sergei Surovikin, the Russian air force general appointed to lead the invasion on 10 October, said the situation in Kherson was “very difficult” for both civilians and Russian soldiers.

“The Russian army will, first of all, ensure the safe evacuation of the population in Kherson,” Surovikin told state television Rossiya 24.

The enemy is not giving up on attempts to attack the positions of the Russian troops,” he said.

Russian forces in the area have been driven back 20 to 30 kilometers (13-20 miles) in the past few weeks and are at risk of crashing into the 2,200-kilometer (1,367-mile-long) west bank. ) The Dnieper river, which divides Ukraine in two.

Surovikin said Russian positions in eastern Ukraine in the towns of Kupiansk and Lyman and in the northern Kherson region between Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih are under constant attack.

“The situation in the field of ‘Special Military Operations’ can be described as tense,” Surovikin told Rossiya 24, using the official terminology for the February 24 invasion of Moscow.

[Al Jazeera]

Kherson is one of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces that Russia claims to have annexed, and arguably the most strategically important. It controls both the only land route to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia captured in 2014, and the mouth of the Dnieper.

After holding referendums in September, which Ukraine and its allies said were illegal and coercive, Putin announced the annexation of the eastern border provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk – which together form the industrial zone known as the Donbas – and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south.

‘No place for civilians’

The head of the Kherson region in the Kremlin, Vladimir Saldo, said that the authorities decided to evacuate some civilians because of the risk of attack by the Ukrainian army.

“The Ukrainian side is building a force for a large-scale attack,” Saldo said in a video description. He said that the Russian army was preparing to repel the attack and said, “Where the army operates, there is no place for civilians. May the Russian army do its duty”.

Ukraine and Russia have refused to target civilians, although Kyiv has accused Moscow’s forces of war crimes.

Surovikin seemed to acknowledge the danger of Ukrainian forces advancing towards the city of Kherson, which Russia had captured largely unopposed in the early days of the invasion.

After serving in Syria and Chechnya, Surovikin is nicknamed “General Armageddon” in the Russian media.

His ascension was followed by the largest wave of missile attacks on Ukraine since the start of the war.

These raids continued this week as Ukrainian officials said they were carried out with Iranian-made Shahed-136 “kamikaze drones” flying and detonated at their targets.

A Russian military truck with a Z in front of it is heading towards a dart-like unexploded ordnance stuck to the earth.
A Russian military truck passes an unexploded ordnance in the Russian-controlled village of Chornobaivka. [File: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

Iran refuses to procure the drones, and the Kremlin on Tuesday also refused to use them.

“Russian technology is being used,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, referring to other questions to the defense ministry.

But two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters news agency Tehran has promised to provide Russia with more drones and surface-to-surface missiles.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia destroyed almost a third of Ukraine’s power plants last week. In his nightly video speech, he urged Ukrainians to reduce their electricity consumption in the evening.