According to Ukraine’s spy chief, Russia is sending more troops into the important southern city of Kherson and may be getting ready to defend it. On Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, the head of Ukrainian intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, called it an “information operation” and claimed that Moscow was “trying to create the illusion that everything is lost.”

Previously, Ukraine had made the suggestion that some Russian units might be departing.

Early in the conflict, Russia captured Kherson. However, pressure has recently increased as Ukrainian forces advance along the Dnipro River: Thousands of civilians have been ordered to leave the city by Russian authorities.

According to General Budanov, the Russian military is sending in more troops and preparing the streets for defense, and the expulsion of residents is merely a front to maintain an image in the event that the city is taken over by Ukraine.

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They stated that men would have the so-called opportunity to join them. Serhiy Bratchuk, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Odesa, asserted that this was merely a cover for enlisting local men in the Russian army.

The precise movements of either side’s troops on the ground have not yet been confirmed. Russian troops possibly digging in raises the prospect of a heated battle in the upcoming weeks.

Since the beginning of October, Ukraine has been moving closer to Kherson. According to its military, it has reclaimed about 90 villages in the area, home to 12,000 people.

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Russian-appointed officials in Kherson declared the formation of militia units on Oct. 24.

The Russians would suffer a severe setback if they lost in Kherson which serves as the capital of one of the four regions that President Putin tried to annex after holding so-called referendums.

On the west bank of the Dnipro River, which flows through Ukraine, it is the only foothold and the only regional capital to have been taken since the invasion in February.

The Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, is controlled by the Kherson province.

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