Russia is bringing new military units to Kherson as it prepares to defend the city against any further Ukrainian offensive, the head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Agency said in an interview with the Kherson-based news site. Kyiv Ukrainska Pravda.
Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said that while Moscow was transporting wounded, money and Russian-installed administrative authorities and financial institutions out of the city, it was sending more troops there.
“[Russian bank] Promsvyazbank and other financial structures that the Russians brought there are abolished,” Budanov said.
“They take out money, [internet] waiters, the so-called occupation authorities… All the seriously injured who cannot walk are taken out, they are trying to discharge those who can walk as soon as possible from the hospitals… They create the illusion that all is lost,” Budanov added .
“And at the same time, on the contrary, they bring new military units there and prepare the streets of the city for defense.”
Budanov said Moscow was acting out of fear that Ukrainian troops would retake the critical Kakhovka barrage, which lies east of Kherson, and encircle its troops in the city.
“They understand that if we at least take control of the Kakhovka dam… they will have to make a decision very quickly. That is [they will have to] very, very quickly leave the city and get out, or they risk being in the same situation that our units in Mariupol were in earlier,” he said.
“Understanding all this, they are preparing the ground so that, if necessary, they can get out of there very quickly. However, they are not preparing to leave now. They prepare to defend.
Budanov repeated claims that the Russians had “partially mined” the dam.
He said he did not believe Russian forces would completely destroy it, as it would flood much of the Kherson region and cut off water supplies to annexed Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
“In other words, if you do complete destruction, then the scenario is this. Are they ready for that? I don’t think so,” he said.