‘If you want to survive, flee’ Kyiv in eerie ultimatum to Russia over Kherson recovery

Ukraine issues message to Russian soldiers

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The Ukrainian region of Kherson has been under Russian control since the early days of President Putin’s invasion. Moscow’s troops stationed in the city are set to face a renewed threat from defending forces as Ukraine has launched a strategic operation to reclaim the city. In a stern warning to Russian soldiers, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the Kremlin’s troops to retreat if they hoped to survive the impending military counter offensive.

BBC News correspondent Hugo Bachega reported on the situation in Kherson from the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.

Mr Bachega said: “President Zelensky did not specifically talk about the operations happening there, but he said Ukraine was retaking territory.

“He had a message to Russian soldiers: if you want to survive, it’s time to flee.”

The news correspondent detailed the scene in Kherson: “The military says that the army has launched a number of operations in multiple areas of the Kherson region.

“For the last few weeks, the Ukrainian army has been attacking Russian supply lines and infrastructure deep inside Russian-controlled territory, away from the frontlines.

“This has only been possible because of the sophisticated weapons being provided by Western countries.

“There has been a lot of speculation for quite some time about whether the Ukrainians would launch a major offensive to retake Kherson, whether the Ukrainians had the capacity to launch a major offensive – any major counter-offensive is unlikely to be easy.”

In a speech on Monday, President Zelensky said: “The occupiers should know we will oust them to the border, our border, the line of which has not changed. The invaders know it well.

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“If they want to survive, it is time for the Russian military to flee. Go home. 

“If you are afraid to return to your home in Russia, well, let such occupiers surrender and we will guarantee them compliance with all norms of the Geneva Conventions.”

He added: “If they do not listen to me, they will deal with our defenders, who will not stop until they liberate everything that belongs to Ukraine.”

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A series of strategic missile strikes by Ukrainian forces in the Kherson region have proved heavily disruptive to Russian supply routes after a number of road bridges, which acted as key routes into the occupied city, were destroyed.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed: “Most of the units around Kherson are likely under-manned and are reliant on fragile supply lines by ferry and pontoon bridges across the Dnipro.”

Intelligence reports have confirmed the barges Russian forces have installed to act as a floating bridge across the Dnipro river to Kherson remain highly vulnerable to further Ukrainian attacks.

Ukraine is steadily building up military forces around the region ahead of an anticipated strike on Russian occupying forces.

The Ministry of Defence said: “[On Monday] several brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces increased the weight of artillery fires in front line sectors across southern Ukraine.”

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