Russia hints at looming struggle as Ukraine advances in key cities where Putin has reportedly barred troops from withdrawing

A Ukrainian man rides a tank in a newly liberated village in Kherson region, Ukraine, on October 7, 2022.

A Ukrainian man rides a tank in a newly liberated village in Kherson region, Ukraine, on October 7, 2022.Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • Ukraine is closing in on Kherson in a counterattack, and Russia says battle is near.

  • The city was the first captured by Russia, and losing it would be a huge blow to Putin.

  • Russian commanders wanted to give it up last month, but Putin said no. By The New York Times.

Russia has shown rare signs of concern as fighting looms over one of the key Ukrainian cities it has occupied.

In Kherson, as authorities rushed to force people out of the city on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a state of martial law in the area at a high-level meeting in Moscow.

The city was an important Russian possession and was the first to accept an invasion eight months ago.Around New York Times report last monthPutin was desperate to maintain control and rejected demands from the military to abandon the city.

Kirill Stremsov, deputy head of the occupation government in Kherson, said: Said In a telegram on Tuesday, he said the battle for the city would “begin in the near future.”

Ukrainian forces were 19 miles south of the city as of Wednesday, reported by the BBCsteadily pushed back the Russian army.

Losing the city would be a huge blow to Putin.

Ukrainians protest against Russian occupation in Kherson on March 5, 2022.

Ukrainians protested the Russian occupation of Kherson in the early days of the March 5, 2022 invasion.twitter

General Sergei Slovikin Newly installed Russian commander-in-chief in Ukraine, Said On Tuesday, he gave an unusually pessimistic assessment that the situation was “tense” and that Kherson’s situation was “not easy”.

Pro-Russian officials began leaving the city on Wednesday, news agency AFP reportedbecause the authorities there evicted civilians.

Russian resident in Kherson, Vladimir Sard, told Russian television on Wednesday that 50,000 to 60,000 people would be taken first deep into occupied Ukraine and then to Russia itself. The Guardian reported.

Footage on Russian television showed people waiting for boats across the river. reported by the BBC.

poutine on wednesday announced Martial law in four regions of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed, including Kherson.

These annexations, attempts to make Russia a formal part of it, have been widely criticized and not recognized by the West.

Ukraine has not publicly announced its plans for the city of Kherson or when it will begin efforts to recapture it.

The head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Andriy Yermak, has denied Russia’s allegations that Ukraine is shelling the city. In a telegram post, he called the evacuation a “propaganda show.”

He said that the Ukrainian military “does not open fire in Ukrainian cities. This is only done by Russian terrorists, and even in Russia planes are crashing into residential buildings.”

Moscow-appointed chiefs Vladimir Sard of the Kherson region and Yevgeny Baritsky of the Zaporizhia region, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushirin, and Lugansk separatist leader Leonid Pasechnik were appointed by the Kremlin. join hands after signing a treaty formally annexing four regions of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces on September 30, 2022 in Moscow.

Kherson and the Moscow-appointed heads of three other Ukrainian regions will join forces after signing a treaty formally annexing these regions in Moscow on September 30, 2022.GRIGORY SYSOYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Mikhail Podlyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, noted on Wednesday that less than a month passed before Putin evacuated Kherson from the ceremony to recognize the four regions as part of Russia.

“Living in a fictional fantasy world can hurt reality.” he tweeted.

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