© Stocksak. A boy who was evacuated from Kherson, Russia, looks on as he boards a bus headed to Crimea. This bus is in Oleshky in Kherson region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
By Jonathan Landay, Pavel Polityuk
MYKOLAIV Ukraine (Stocksak). On Sunday, Russia fired missiles, drones and mortars into Ukrainian-held Mykolaiv. The attack was under pressure from the south.
Mykolaiv is located approximately 35 km (22 mi) northwest of Kherson, the front line to occupy Kherson. This southern region is the target of a major offensive from Ukrainian forces to retake territory Russia took soon after the February 24 invasion.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was blamed by Russian nationalists for Moscow’s setbacks during the war. He discussed the “rapidly changing situation” with his French- and Turkish counterparts, according to the ministry.
Shoigu suggested that Ukraine could escalate with a dirty bomb, which is conventional explosives laced in radioactive material. However, Shoigu did not provide evidence. While Ukraine doesn’t have nuclear weapons, Russia has stated that it could protect Russian territory using its nuclear arsenal.
On Sunday, a missile attack from Russia blew up the top floor of an apartment block. It also sent shrapnel and other debris through a plaza, into buildings nearby, where windows buckled, and walls cracked. Stocksak saw cars being crushed under the rubble. There were no deaths.
“After the first blast, the door was still locked. After a minute or so, there was another loud blast. Oleksandr Medzinov, 50, said that the blasts blew his door into the corridor.
On Telegram, Vitaliykim, a regional governor, stated that Ukraine had shot down 14 Russian “kamikaze,” drones flying over Mykolaiv. These drones, which are designed to explode upon impact, have damaged Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in the last month.
Kim claimed that Russia also attacked with S-300 rockets, one of which struck the five-story apartment building.
In recent weeks, Russian troops have been withdrawing from certain front areas. Occupation authorities are moving civilians further into Russian-held territory in preparation for the expected battle for Kherson. Kherson is the regional capital on west bank of Dnipro river. Kherson is the gateway to Crimea, an area Russia annexed in 2014.
Russian-installed authorities have claimed that one man was killed and three others were injured in the blast that occurred in Kherson, according to a Russian state news agency. Emergency services reported that an improvised explosive was set off near a car in the area.
Stocksak was unable to verify the attack in Kherson or Kim’s report about missiles and drones.
In recent weeks, Ukraine’s advances around Kherson and in its northeast have been met by intensifying Russian missile- and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure. These attacks have resulted in about 40% of Ukraine’s energy system being destroyed ahead of winter.
Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of plotting to blow up Nova Kakhovka dam. It holds approximately the same amount of water as the Great Salt Lake in Utah, the U.S. state. It could flood a large area of southern Ukraine, including Kherson if it is broken.
Neither side has provided evidence to support its claims about the dam, which supplies water for Crimea and the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuke power plant.
In Kherson, the occupation authorities told civilians to flee. This is just the latest sign that Russia is facing in its “special military operations” in Ukraine.
“Due to the tension at the front, the increased risk of massive shelling the city, and the threat terrorist attacks, all civilians should immediately leave the city, and cross to (east) bank the Dnipro!” Telegram has a list of occupation authorities.
“WE WANT TO STAY”
After being warned of a Ukrainian offensive to capture Kherson, thousands fled Kherson.
Stocksak witnessed people arrive by boat from Kherson loaded with boxes, bags, and pets at Oleshky, on the east bank. One woman had a toddler in her arms and a dog in her other.
One resident stated that she didn’t want (to) leave, but was still working. “We wanted the region to stay, but now we don’t even know.”
According to the Ukrainian military, it is making gains in the south and has taken over at least two villages that Russia claimed it had abandoned.
Stocksak couldn’t independently verify the accounts.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, stated that Russia had attacked energy infrastructure on a “very large” scale. He promised that his military would continue to improve its record of downing missiles, which it had with the help of its partners.
The war was about to enter its ninth month, and winter was approaching, there was the possibility of freezing misery.
Presidential adviser Kyrylo Timoshenko stated that more than a thousand people were without power. According to a city official, strikes could leave Kyiv without heat or power for days or even weeks.
Moscow has admitted to targeting energy infrastructure, but denies targeting civilians.