- by theguardian
- 24 Mar 2023
The comments underlined mounting speculation that Russia would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself, the largest urban area under Russian occupation, at any cost.
Pro-Russian occupation authorities briefly announced a 24-hour curfew in the city amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnieper River, before rapidly backtracking.
As Ukrainian forces have closed in, Russia has moved in reinforcements and dug into positions against an expected effort by Ukraine to try to take the key city, setting the scene for a potentially ferocious battle.
Ukraine has liberated a large area of Kherson oblast, but progress has slowed in recent weeks as Ukrainian forces have approached the Dnieper.
On Thursday, Stremousov issued several video appeals for civilians to leave the part of the province on the west bank of the Dnieper. He said Russian forces would likely soon give up the west bank of the river to Ukraine.
Authorities removed the Russian flag from the Kherson administration building on the west bank on Thursday, a week after the regional government moved out.
Russia has carried out missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian power facilities, particularly in recent weeks. In his address, Zelenskiy described the targeting of energy infrastructure as a sign of weakness.
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