- Power outages in the main city, which Kyiv forces are trying to recapture
- Ukraine accuses occupied Kherson of looting by Russians
- Russia strengthened the Kherson region before the war
- Moscow denies serious losses of the military unit after the letter of protest
- Ukraine: Not Putin, but the future Russian leader can talk
KYIV, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Ukraine accused Russia on Monday of invading the southern city of Kherson with plainclothes troops to loot empty houses and prepare street battles for both sides in what will be one of the most important battles of the war. .
In recent days, Russia ordered the evacuation of civilians from Kherson in anticipation of an attack by Ukraine.
Kherson, which had a pre-war population of about 300,000, has been left cold and dark for the past 48 hours after electricity and water were cut off, both sides said.
Officials appointed by Russia accused Ukraine of “sabotage” and said they were trying to restore electricity. Ukrainian authorities have said that the Russians have dismantled 1.5 kilometers of power lines, and power may not return until Ukrainian troops retake the area.
Kyiv described the evacuation of the region as forced deportation, a war crime. Moscow says it is sending residents for their safety.
About 100 disabled children were transferred from the medical facility in Dniproany, Kherson region to Moscow region, the Ukrainian army said. The patients of the old people’s home in Kakhovka have also been moved, and Russian troops are occupying those places, it is reported.
Kherson is located on the west bank of the Dnieper River, which bisects Ukraine, in a single Russian-held pocket. Recapturing it has become the focus of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south, which has accelerated since early October.
It was not possible to independently confirm the situation in Kherson. Ukrainian forces on the immediate front told Reuters they were expecting a tough fight against Russian forces determined to exact a bloody price.
Ukraine’s military said Russian troops were “in civilian clothes, seizing civilian homes and consolidating their positions inside to conduct street battles.”
Russian forces were “involved in looting and looting of residents and infrastructure facilities, and are taking equipment, food and vehicles into the Russian Federation,” according to an update late Monday.
Reuters has sought comment from Russian authorities on Ukraine’s accusations. Moscow denies violence against civilians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that the eastern Donetsk region remains the “epicenter” of the war, where hundreds of Russians are being killed every day.
The cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka are the focus of the fiercest fighting in the Donetsk region.
‘PEOPLE SAY MEAT’
On the diplomatic front, both the White House and the Kremlin declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held talks with President Vladimir Putin’s aides to reduce the risk of an escalation of war.
The war caused great damage to the world economy and raised the threat of nuclear conflict.
White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre later said: “We reserve the right to speak directly about matters of concern to the United States at the highest level,” adding that those talks were “only to mitigate risks.”
He added that regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s congressional elections, the United States’ support for Ukraine would be “unlimited and unwavering.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said Ukraine is ready to negotiate war with a future Russian leader, not Putin, after a Washington Post report called on the United States to signal to Kyiv that it is ready for peace talks to retain Western support. .
“Ukraine has never refused to negotiate. Our position in negotiations is known and clear,” Podolyak said on Twitter, adding that Russia should first withdraw its troops from Ukraine. “Is Putin ready? Of course not.”
Russia has faced major challenges in the east and south in recent months, after weeks of seizing territory it had seized in northern Ukraine.
Putin responded to the losses by calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists and announcing the annexation of captured territories. He said 50,000 newly recruited reservists were fighting in combat units on Monday.
But as more and more troops were sent to the front and casualties mounted, Russia became increasingly concerned about the progress of the war.
Russia’s Defense Ministry took a rare step Monday after Russian military bloggers published an open letter from surviving members of the Pacific Fleet’s 155th Marine Brigade.
In a letter sent to Oleg Kozhemiak, the governor of the region where the unit is based on the Pacific coast, the Marines said that in just four days, their units had lost 300 men killed, wounded or missing and half of their equipment.
They blamed the generals who “called the people meat” and wanted to get medals and awards.
Reuters Reporting by Peter Graff, Mark Heinrich and Doina Chiaku Editing by Angus McSwan, Alison Williams and Matthew Lewis
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