29 OCTOBER 2022 • 10:57AM
Moscow is “likely” planning an expedited withdrawal from Kherson city, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence.
It notes that the remains of the 18th century Russian statesman Prince Grigory Potemkin had been removed from Kherson cathedral and moved to a location east of the Dnipro river, according to the Russian-appointed governor of the occupied Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo.
“In the Russian national identity, Potemkin is heavily associated with the Russian conquest of Ukrainian lands in the 18th century and highlights the weight Putin almost certainly places on perceived historical justification for the invasion,” the intelligence update states.
“This symbolic removal of Potemkin and the civilian exodus likely pre-empts Russian intent to expedite withdrawal from the area.”
Two days ago, Saldo said that more than 70,000 civilians had now left Kherson city.
For weeks, Ukrainian forces have been advancing towards Kherson, the biggest city that Russia has captured intact since the invasion in February, although the advance has slowed in recent days. The battle for Kherson would be one of the most consequential of the war so far.
Follow the latest updates below.
Russians looting medical equipment in Kherson, says Zelensky
Russian forces in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson are engaged in mass theft of medical equipment and ambulances in a bid to make the area uninhabitable, President Volodymyr Zelensky said late yesterday.
Ukrainian troops are gathered in force near Kherson, prompting Russian-installed officials to evacuate many residents.
“The occupiers have decided to close down medical institutions in towns, take away medical equipment, ambulances, everything. They are putting pressure on doctors who still remain… to move to the territory of Russia,” Zelensky said.
“Russia is trying to make the Kherson region a no man’s land,” he added in an evening video address, saying pro-Moscow forces realised they could not hold onto the regional capital and were therefore taking what they could.