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Southern Command: Russia's proxies in occupied parts of Kherson Oblast preparing to leave

by The Kyiv Independent news deskMarch 14, 2023 12:21 pm

Moscow-installed proxies on the east bank of Kherson Oblast prepare to leave the Russian-occupied territories, "taking away documentation and looted things," Ukraine's Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk told Ukrainian Channel 24. 

"This is a sign that another 'gesture of goodwill' is being prepared," Humeniuk said, referring to the propaganda term that Moscow used to justify its troops being forced from previously occupied Kyiv Oblast and other Ukrainian regions. 

The southern city of Kherson was liberated by Ukraine's Armed Forces in November 2022, along with other areas on the west bank of the Dnipro River. Russian forces were pushed to the river's east bank, from where they had been firing at the liberated territories.

According to Humeniuk, the Russian military uses the civilian population living on the Black Sea coast in Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts as "a live shield."

"They are placing their firing positions, including MLRS (multiple launch rocket systems), right in the backyards of local residents. This makes it difficult for us to respond, but it's not completely impossible," Humeniuk told the TV channel. "We continue to monitor their maneuvers, movements, and intentions. I think that we will soon be able to report on good results."

Humeniuk also linked a recent Russian attack on the water area of the Dnipro-Buzka estuary to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, of which Russia has been threatening to back out. 

"... Mykolaiv area is one of the priorities because the Ukrainian economy needs to develop, and the world community needs to receive more grain…" she explained. "It's terrorism on maritime transport ways so that they (Ukrainian authorities) won't even think of using it because of the security situation."

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which unblocked Ukraine's grain exports via the Black Sea, was concluded by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN in July 2022. Before that, grain exports had been blocked due to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said on March 13 that Moscow was ready to extend the "grain deal," which is set to expire on March 18, after deliberations with United Nations officials, but only for 60 days. 

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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