Russian military leadership in the occupied city of Kherson have fled across the Dnieper River, leaving behind new Russian recruits to try and stall the Ukraine military’s push to recapture the city, a Washington-based think tank says.
“Using such inexperienced forces to conduct a delaying action could prompt a Russian rout if Ukrainian forces choose to press the attack,” the Institute for the Study of War says in its latest assessment of the war.
The institute says that at least one Russian war blogger noted the situation in Kherson is dire for frontline Russian troops who could find it ”virtually impossible” to evacuate. How to get those troops out and how to explain the flight from Kherson – which the Kremlin says it has annexed – to the Russian populace remain crucial issues for Russian leadership, the assessment says.
The Russian Kherson Occupation Administration announced Saturday that “all citizens of Kherson must immediately leave the city.” The assessment says that Russia is likely trying to depopulate parts of the region that Ukraine will recapture, damaging the long-term social and economic viability of southern Ukraine.
During a trial flight, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said Sunday, two Russian pilots died when a fighter jet crashed into a home in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. No injuries were reported on the ground, the ministry said.
Russian authorities said they are building defensive positions in occupied areas of Ukraine and border regions of Russia amid a powerful Ukrainian counterattack that has reclaimed hundreds of miles of territory.
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