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Ukraine war latest: Russia kidnaps Ukrainians from Kherson Oblast amid Ukraine's advances

by Asami Terajima October 16, 2022 9:13 PM 3 min read
A Ukrainian soldier stands as a 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer fires a shell on the front line in Donetsk Oblast on Oct. 10, 2022. (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Oct. 15-16
  • Ukrainians in Kherson Oblast deported to Russia, other occupied territories
  • Blasts damages former administration building in occupied Donetsk
  • Russia losing 6.5 soldiers for every Ukrainian in south
  • Russia launches 10 airstrikes on Ukraine

Russia has begun deporting Ukrainians from Kherson Oblast.

Russian-installed proxies in Kherson Oblast, on Oct. 16, published a video of around 100 residents transferred to Russia's Krasnodar Krai. The video depicted women, children, and the elderly, carrying backpacks and suitcases.

The exact number of Ukrainians forcibly deported remains unclear.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said on Oct. 14 that "several thousand" Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast have already been relocated to Russia or other occupied territories.

The Russian authorities openly admitted that they are sending Ukrainian children for adoption in Russia, with Khusnullin saying that 500 are being taken out of Kherson Oblast daily.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. defense think tank, said on Oct. 15 that Moscow might be engaging in a wider campaign of ethnic cleansing by transferring Ukrainians from occupied regions to Russia, then repopulating those regions with Russian citizens.

Russia has kidnapped over 4.6 million people from Ukrainian territory, of which 690,000 are children, according to Russia's state TASS news agency.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in July that most Ukrainian citizens "forcibly deported" from their homes to Russia are often sent to isolated regions in the Far East.

Southern counteroffensive

According to the regional military administration, Russian proxies are intensifying attacks on Ukrainians living in the occupied parts of Kherson Oblast, which could include invasively checking their personal belongings and breaking into houses.

The southern military command spokeswoman said on TV that Ukrainian forces have begun "a new wave" of the two-month-long counteroffensive in the south, actively pushing deeper into the occupied territory.

Natalia Humeniuk added that Russian forces are fortifying the new front line they are now defending, making the counteroffensive difficult.

The five settlements liberated earlier last week remain "dangerous," she added.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Russia is losing soldiers at a ratio of 6.5 to 1 on the southern front.

In the east, Russian forces massed fire using tanks, mortars, and artillery along the front line, including in the direction of Bakhmut, where heavy fighting continues on the city's outskirts.

Defense minister: ‘The age of Ukraine-centrism has begun’

Northeastern front

Early on Oct. 16, Russian state news agencies reported explosions in the Russian-occupied Donetsk, damaging the former city council building.

The reports accused Ukrainian forces of attacking the building with the U.S.-provided HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems). Ukraine hasn't commented on the allegations.

Back in Russia, 16 explosions rocked Belgorod, located about 50 kilometers north of Ukraine's border, injuring two people. Ukraine hasn't commented on the explosions.

Russia's state news agency Ria Novosti reported that gunmen killed 11 people during a firearms training session at a military training ground in Belgorod Oblast on Oct. 15.

Russian Defense Ministry said the attackers, who opened fire on soldiers heading to Ukraine, were from "a former Soviet republic."

A Russian media report, citing an eyewitness, said 22 people were killed. The Kyiv Independent could not verify the information.

RIA Novosti also reported that President Vladimir Putin will hold a Security Council meeting in the coming days.

A woman walks past an apartment block hit by Russian forces in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, on Oct. 12, 2022. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Casualties and attacks

Russian forces launched one missile strike and 10 airstrikes across Ukraine on Oct. 16, according to Ukraine's General Staff.

The official number of civilians killed in eastern Donetsk Oblast since the start of the full-scale invasion surpassed 1,000. Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Oct. 16 that six more civilian bodies were found in the liberated city of Lyman, while another was killed in Bakhmut.

Several missiles struck Zaporizhzhia Oblast overnight, destroying two schools, Governor Oleksandr Starukh reported. The attacked area is located between Zaporizhzhia and occupied Mariupol.

In neighboring Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Nikopol was hit dozens of times with artillery, wounding six people, according to Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko. Russia's targets in the city included a cultural site, a school, a cafe, industrial areas, and electrical substations.

In Ukraine's northeast, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said that three people were hospitalized in the Kupiansk area due to continued Russian shelling.

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