May 27, 2024

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Russian troops 'disappear en masse' in Kherson: Resistance group

Russian troops 'disappear en masse' in Kherson: Resistance group

A Ukrainian partisan movement active in the occupied south of the country reported mass defections of Russian forces there, with Russian forces refusing to carry out combat missions.

The Atesh movement – which means “fire” in Crimean Tatar – was operating in the southern Kherson region during the large-scale Russian invasion; It began in February 2022 and saw much of the southern part of the country quickly occupied.

Atesh collects information on local Russian operations of Ukrainian intelligence and military forces while organizing local resistance. The group also announced the killing of many Russian and local allied forces.

“Russian soldiers are disappearing en masse in the Kherson region,” Atish wrote on his Telegram channel on Thursday.

Newsweek It cannot independently verify the report and has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry via email to request comment.

A woman walks past a poster at a bus stop showing a participant in the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on February 25, 2024 in Moscow, Russia. Both sides are suffering from severe manpower problems after two years…

Contributor/Getty Images

“According to official reports received by the Russian armed forces group Dnieper, we have learned that the orcs refuse to carry out combat missions and intentionally leave their temporary deployment places,” the group wrote, using the common derogatory word “orcs.” Ukrainians use it to refer to Russian soldiers.

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“It is noteworthy that some of those officially identified on the papers as SOCH…were later found in the occupied territories of the Kherson region,” the post added, referring to the Russian abbreviation used for deserters, similar to the English one. “without permission.”

“Our agents also noticed the arrival of a large number of occupation army personnel in Novolexivka,” Atesh wrote. This refers to a rural settlement in southern Kherson, near the Perekop Isthmus that separates Crimea from the mainland.

The group added: “These soldiers are in abandoned houses, and most of them have multiple tattoos on their bodies. Local residents believe that these are people who were previously in prison.”

Atesh reported that the Russian military is also intensifying efforts to arrest Ukrainian rebels who provide information to military forces on the Ukrainian side of the line of communication, which was largely demarcated more than a year ago by the Dnieper River — known as Dnipro in Ukrainian. .

“The Russian Guard was instructed to arrest Ukrainian revolutionaries who transmit information about the locations of members of the Russian occupation forces,” Atesh wrote. “If you know where members of the Russian occupation army are stationed, please let us know. Together, we will expel the Russian horde from Ukraine.”

The southern Kherson region has seen little movement on the front since Ukraine's major victory there in the fall of 2022. Kiev forces then headed south to liberate the city of Kherson and all the lands on the western bank of the Dnieper River.

The waterway has since formed a formidable barrier to further attacks, especially after it was swollen by the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in June 2023.

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However, Ukrainian units have managed to establish small but stable beachheads on the Russian-controlled eastern bank over the past year. Russian forces have proven unable to dislodge Kiev's foothold, which could one day help the advance into Crimea.