More than 25,000 Ukrainian citizens in occupied Kherson City have been evacuated across the Dnieper River in the last 6 days as Russian military units have also been spotted staging vehicles on the Eastern bank. Russian appointed Kherson Governor Stremousov evacuated the city last week with his staff.
“About 25,000 have already moved to the left bank… People are actively moving, because today the priority is life. We do not force anyone, we do not drag anyone anywhere. I think they will only wait for the shelling carried by the Armed Forces of Ukraine…” said Stremousov.
“We ask as many people as possible to leave Kherson and give the military an opportunity to strengthen,” Stremousov added. “Because we are now engaged in the defense of the city. We are ready to defend the city of Kherson.”
“Civilians of Kherson and all departments and ministries of civil administration must cross today to the left bank of the Dnieper. Due to the tense situation at the front, the increased danger of massive shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left bank of the Dnieper” , – says the telegram channel of the regional administration.
In the next 48 hours, mass Russian troops are set to leave the city for defensive positions on the West bank of the River.
The below video shows Russian military authorities inspecting the barge bridge adjacent to the Antonivs?kyy bridge which was rendered impassible by Ukrainian HIMARS strikes in the last month. Note the status of the barges and the heavy use of ferries for civilian traffic. If the Russian military had to withdraw in the face of a Ukrainian assault, a panicked rout across the River would most likely ensue.
The past two weeks have seen major breakthroughs by Ukrainian troops moving from Mykolaiv and along the Eastern bank of the Dnieper River near Duchandy. While the situation has stabilized for the Russians, mobilized reinforcements have not been mustered to the number and experience needed to ensure control of the strategic city. A withdrawal over the Dnieper, to use as a natural barricade may be the best operational choice for that grouping of forces.