Ukrainian forces responded to Russia’s attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure by hitting the centers of occupied Kherson and Luhansk; there are dead and wounded among the occupiers and Russian collaborators.

Explosions ripped through the center of Kherson on Sept. 16. Russia’s state news RIA Novosti posted a video of flames and smoke billowing from the Kherson appellate court building, where the Russian occupation authorities had a commander’s office. They also reported that at least five missiles had fallen near the building.

According to Russian media, a meeting of Moscow-appointed heads of administrations and districts was held at the time of the strike. Kiril Stremousov, a collaborator with the occupation authorities in Kherson, said that the strikes hit his office. Alla Barkhatnova, another collaborator, charged with heading the labor department, was wounded, and her driver was killed.

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Around the same time, a blast occurred in the building of the prosecutor’s office in occupied Luhansk, practically on the other side of the country. According to Russian media, the Moscow-appointed prosecutor general was killed. Preliminary investigations attribute the explosion’s cause to a building bomb.

Earlier, the Russian army attacked Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. On September 15, a dam in Kryvyi Rih was shelled by Russian troops, which caused extensive flooding. On September 12, the Kharkiv thermal power plant was attacked. As a result, parts of the city and a few surrounding regions were left without electricity and water.

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Russian attacks appear to be a response to the retreat of Russian troops in the Kharkiv region, said Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He called the blow “a cowardly response to the Russian army’s flight from the battlefield.” After the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region on Sept. 5, Russian troops began to retreat. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, it left most of the area. Rather than “retreat,” Russian officials refer to it as “an operation to curtail and organize the transfer of troops” to “increase efforts in the Donetsk direction.”

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