By Emmanuel Nduka
Moscow-installed Deputy Governor of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov has died in a mysterious car crash, Russian state media reported.
Stremousov, 45, was the highly-visible deputy head of the occupying regime, even as Ukraine is expected to launch a major counteroffensive in the region.
Earlier on Wednesday, hours before his death, Stremousov had typically accused the West of being behind the Ukrainian advance in Kherson.
Several English and Polish-speaking mercenaries are among the advancing forces, he alleged, offering no proof.
With the development, Russia is reportedly removing its troops from the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson.
Kherson, in the country’s south, was the only regional capital Russia had captured since the start of the war in February.
According to the BBC, Russia’s Ukraine commander General Sergei Surovikin had said supplying the city was no longer possible.
The bulk of the city is on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, closer to Ukrainian forces. In recent months, Ukraine has successfully taken out most of the Dnipro crossing near Kherson forcing supplies and people to use vulnerable and slow moving ferries to get in and out of the city.
Russian forces will move to the western bank of the Dnipro leaving a large chunk of the Kherson region now longer under Moscow’s control.
“In these circumstances, the most sensible option is to organise the defence along a barrier line along the river Dnipro,” Gen Surovikin told a meeting of senior military leaders.
Recently on September 30, Russia declared that it had annexed the Kherson region along with the regions of Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk. None were – or are – fully under Moscow’s yoke.
Stremousov had claimed he was in the city helping people flee. The place he was killed is Russian controlled and 200km miles from Kherson city.