Russia hopes to annex Kherson while Ukraine advances in counteroffensive

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Russian officials said on Thursday that occupying forces in Ukraine would soon we look at the accession of Kherson as heavy fighting continues over the southern region.

Krill Stremoys, citizen of Ukraine wanted for high treason in Kyiv, who is also the deputy head of the Russian separatist forces in Kherson, wrote on Telegram: “We are preparing for a referendum, we will hold it.”

“I hope that in the near future we will become a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation,” he added, according to Russian media.

A Russian military truck drives past unexploded ordnance during the Ukrainian-Russian conflict in the Russian-controlled village of Chernobaevka, Ukraine, July 26, 2022.

A Russian military truck drives past unexploded ordnance during the Ukrainian-Russian conflict in the Russian-controlled village of Chernobaevka, Ukraine, July 26, 2022.
(REUTERS/Alexander Yermochenko)

KHERSON IS CUT OFF: THE UKRAINIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE IS GAINING IMPULSE IN THE SOUTHERN CITY

Stremousov has been claiming for months that Russian forces in the southern region are preparing to hold a referendum to “vote” for Kherson’s annexation to Russia.

However, his new statements come as Defense Department officials defend the gains made Ukrainian armed forces in a region that has been under Russian occupation since the beginning of March.

The key bridge was closed this week after Ukrainian forces used US-supplied HIMARS to shell a strategically important highway. Russian troops in Kherson they counted on access to the occupied territories north of Crimea.

The damage to the Antonovsky Bridge, which crosses the Dnieper, is a major victory for Ukrainian forces that seek to block Russian transport and logistics routes to Kherson.

Ukrainian infantrymen train May 9, 2022 near the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine.  The infantry soldiers studied scenarios for surviving a possible encounter with a Russian tank approaching at close range.  The front line with Russian troops runs just 70 km to the south in the Kherson region, most of which is controlled by Russia.

Ukrainian infantrymen train May 9, 2022 near the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine. The infantry soldiers studied scenarios for surviving a possible encounter with a Russian tank approaching at close range. The front line with Russian troops runs just 70 km to the south in the Kherson region, most of which is controlled by Russia.
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

UKRAINE REMOVES KEY BRIDGE, “DESTROYING” RUSSIAN PLANS TO “ADVANCE” SOUTH

The UK Ministry of Defense on Thursday said Ukrainian forces were “gaining strength” in Kherson and said it was “very likely” they had established a “bridgehead” south of the Ingulets River, a tributary of the Dnieper.

“Which forms the northern border of Russian-occupied Kherson,” the ministry stressed.

The ministry estimated that Ukrainian forces damaged at least three bridges across the Dnieper; bridges on which Russian soldiers rely.

“The city of Kherson, the most politically significant settlement occupied by Russia, is now practically cut off from other occupied territories,” the British Ministry of Defense added. “Losing it would seriously undermine Russia’s attempts to present the occupation as a success.”

Ukrainian soldiers carry supplies to the trenches on the front line between Mykolaiv and Kherson in Ukraine, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers carry supplies to the trenches on the front line between Mykolaiv and Kherson in Ukraine, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
(Photo by Salvan George/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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Stremousov refutes Western claims that Ukraine has made any progress in the southern region.

Authorities in the Kherson region on Thursday said Russian troops had banned the use of the Ukrainian currency and those found using the hryvnia would be “punished.”

Intense fighting continues throughout the Kherson region as Ukrainian forces attempt to reclaim their territory from Russian occupation.