The head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Service says Russia is sending new military units to Kherson as the country prepares to defend the city from any new Ukrainian attack, the head of the Intelligence Service said. Ukraine’s Defense said in an interview with the Ukrainian website Ukraine Pravda based in Kyiv.
Major General Kyrylo Budanov said that while Moscow was moving the wounded, cash and Russian-installed administrative agencies and financial institutions out of the city, they were bringing in more troops.
“[Russian bank] The Promsvyazbank and other financial structures that the Russians brought there are being phased out,” said Budanov.
“They are withdrawing cash, [internet] server, so-called occupation authorities… All the people who can’t walk, who are seriously injured are being taken out, they’re trying to get the people who can walk out of the hospital as soon as possible… They create gives off the illusion that everything is lost,” added Budanov.
“And at the same time, on the contrary, they sent new army units there and prepared the streets of the city for defense.”
Budanov said that Moscow was acting out of fear that the Ukrainian army could retake the important Kakhovka Dam, located east of Kherson, and encircle its troops in the city.
“They understood that if we at least got the Kakhovka Dam under control… they would have to make a decision very quickly. One in two [they will have to] very, very quickly leave the city and go outside, otherwise they risk getting into the same situation as our units in Mariupol found earlier,” he said.
“Understanding all this, they are preparing the ground so that if necessary they can get out of there very quickly. However, they are not prepared to leave now. They are preparing to defend.”
Budanov repeats allegations that the Russians had “partially exploited” the dam.
He said he did not believe Russian forces would completely destroy it, because doing so would flood much of the Kherson region and cut off water supplies to annexed Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
“In other words, if you destroy it completely, the scenario is like this. Are they ready for it? I don’t think so,” he said.