Authorities in Kyiv on Monday accused Russian forces of looting homes in the occupied city of Kherson after forcibly deporting civilians.
The Russian occupation authority in the city – the only provincial capital Moscow has taken since the start of the war – has described the movement of civilians as an evacuation necessitated by the growing proximity of Ukrainian forces.
“While residents of Kherson are being forcibly deported from their homes and are talking about ‘evacuation’, [Russian] Military and FSB officers are doing what they love most – robbing their homes,” said Ukraine’s presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted.
Repeating Podolyak’s report late Monday, Ukraine’s military said Russian troops were “involved in looting and theft of residents and infrastructure sites, and bringing equipment, food and vehicles into the Russian Federation.”
Russian troops also reportedly set up defensive positions in the city’s apartment buildings and prepared for street fighting reminiscent of the bloody battles around Severodonetsk and Mariupol.
Military leaders on both sides have said they expect a brutal battle for the southern city, which fell to Russian forces in the first hours of the invasion.
Kherson is symbolic of Moscow and its false claim that Ukraine – and in particular the provinces of Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk – are rightfully part of Russia.
The city also has strategic importance as a shipbuilding port with access to the Dnipro River, which bisects Ukraine and runs upstream to the capital, Kyiv.
The city of Kherson sits on the west bank of the Dnipro, in a small pocket of Russian-controlled land. Russian forces have mostly retreated to the east bank of the river, which they have reportedly been fortifying for weeks.
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Russia’s puppet administration for Kherson province, hinted last week that Russia could still withdraw from the city and across the Dnieper – a move reportedly already taken by the occupation administration itself.
The city was without electricity and water on Monday. Russian authorities claimed Ukrainian forces had sabotaged the power grid, an accusation to which Kyiv did not respond. Last month, Ukraine’s military accused Moscow’s forces of deliberately sabotaging power to drive civilians out of the city.
Skies over Ukraine were unusually calm on Monday apart from the rush-hour bombing that characterized the previous three weeks.
Meanwhile, fighting continued in the eastern Donbass region, an industrial heartland bordering Russia and made up of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Donetsk the “epicenter” of Monday’s fighting, with heavy fighting continuing in the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/11/07/ukraine-accuses-russia-of-looting-kherson-as-battle-looms/ Ukraine accuses Russia of sacking Kherson as battle looms