General Budanov, the chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence, claimed that while bolstering its fortifications in this area, Russia “pretends to retreat from Kherson.”
Major General Kyrylo Budanov, head of the General Intelligence Service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, said in an interview on October 24 that although General Sergey Surovikin, the commander-in-chief of Russian forces in Ukraine, might be taking measures to appease the Russian public’s reaction in the event that Kherson fell, it cannot be said that Russian forces were leaving the city.
General Budanov claimed that there were some indications of a Russian departure from Kherson, including the expulsion of Promsvyazbank and other financial institutions, the removal of patients and badly injured soldiers, and requests for those who were mobile to leave the hospital.
Budanov clarified, “But this is a campaign of information and psychological warfare. They are preparing to fight in the streets while simultaneously bringing new units into Kherson and presenting the appearance that everything has been lost.
The chief of Ukraine’s intelligence service also called out a weakness in the Russian military’s strategy: the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam on the Dnieper River, which is the sole remaining supply route for Kherson that Russia may still exploit.
He claims that in order to prevent “getting into an isolated scenario similar to the Ukrainian units in Mariupol in the spring,” the Russian side will need to act swiftly and either change its mind or evacuate from Kherson if the Ukrainian army wins control of the Kakhovka dam.
Regarding the information provided by Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Russia has not commented.
A militia unit has been organised to protect Kherson city, according to the civilian-military government that Russia installed in Kherson province on October 24. The organisation added that people can “at any time” leave the area for the Dnieper River’s east bank and that security in the Kherson area is still guaranteed.
The Ukrainian army has attacked the city of Kherson in recent weeks from the western bank of the Dnieper River. According to Western analysts, Russia is in danger of losing control of Kherson and will eventually have to leave the city.
Kiev firmly rejects Russia’s annexation of Kherson province, which it has controlled since March and proclaimed in early October. In four provinces that were acquired from Ukraine last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin implemented martial law, enabling the local authorities to enhance the level of army mobilisation.
On October 18, the provincial representative for Kherson who had been chosen by Russia stated that he would help the residents evacuate to Russian territories and “give free accommodation and everything necessary.” Kherson province has lost about 25,000 residents. Ukraine referred to this as a “mass expulsion” and claimed that Russia “deliberately sows panic.”