Youth leader

Russian Mandatory leader Kirill Stremousov reportedly fled amid Ukraine’s Kherson offensive

A day after Ukraine announced the start of its long-awaited offensive to retake the southern Kherson region, unconfirmed reports have emerged of the release of several villages and at least one proxy Russian leader from the region fleeing to safety in Russia.

Kirill Stremousov, the deputy leader of Kherson, was called out on Tuesday for allegedly filming a video message proclaiming Ukraine had been defeated from a Marriott hotel in Voronezh, Russia.

“Russia is in Kherson forever,” Stremousov said, saying the Ukrainian offensive was derailed the very day it began.

But one Ukrainian activist was quick to point out that Stremousov appeared to have filmed the video more than 800 km from Kherson, somewhere near the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Voronezh, which could be seen in the background, with the reservoir of Voronezh. Social media users then found photos showing the view of a Marriott hotel that matched the background of the same video where Stremousov declared the Ukrainian offensive “useless”.

Stremousov’s apparent departure from Kherson came after another Russian-appointed official in the region, Alexei Kovalev, was shot dead outside his home over the weekend, according to the Russian Investigative Committee. Kovalev, the former deputy director of agriculture in Kherson, had previously been a member of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party in parliament before switching sides and joining the Russian occupiers who took control of the city in early March.

Another Russian-appointed official in the city survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle, Russian news agency TASS reported, without naming the official.

The assassination attempt came after Zelensky warned Russian troops in the occupied territories that it was “time to flee” if they were to survive the Ukrainian offensive.

While Ukrainian authorities have refused to release details of their offensive in Kherson, Russian defense officials have worked to downplay it, saying late Monday it had “failed miserably”. The Russian Ministry of Defense, in its briefing on Tuesday, also claimed to have killed more than 1,200 Ukrainian soldiers during the offensive launched the day before.

But Russia’s claims of military victories come as Western officials warn that Moscow’s situation is not as rosy as they claim.

“Most [Russian] units around Kherson are likely understrength and dependent on fragile supply lines by ferry and pontoon bridges over the Dnipro,” the UK Ministry of Defense said. said in his latest assessment of the war on Tuesday.

Iranian drones now in the possession of the Russian military, which were widely seen as a potential game-changer in the Kremlin war, also showed ‘numerous failures’ in their tests, according to US officials quoted by CNN tuesday.

And despite Russian claims that it had already stifled the Ukrainian offensive in Kherson, a series of explosions were reported in and around the city on Tuesday, while a local Ukrainian lawmaker, Sergii Khlan, reported that a yacht club occupied by Russian forces had made a direct decision. hit.

An unnamed Ukrainian military source was also quoted as telling CNN that the army had already taken over four villages in the area, although the Ukrainian armed forces did not confirm this claim.

“Unlike CNN, I am very concerned about the fate of these people who live in these settlements and these units who are fighting, so we are not confirming anything at this time. We are working and will announce [new developments] as soon as possible,” Natalya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian armed forces in the south, said in televised comments on Tuesday.