‘Mission is to destroy!’ Putin takes over Kherson as he sets out to ‘cut Ukraine in two’

Shocking footage of Putin's troops firing at unarmed Ukrainians

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Kherson’s mayor confirmed that it had fallen into enemy hands and said Russia planned to set up a “military administration”. The city’s mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said: “Their mission is to destroy us.

“We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop.”

Kherson, home to 290,000 people, is 300 miles south of Kyiv and is the first city to surrender to Russian troops.

According to The Telegraph, with the latest move, Putin has now established a bridgehead from which his forces can cross the River Dnieper, which cuts Ukraine in two, and head westwards and northwards to attack Kyiv from a second direction.

Igor Kolykhayev, the mayor of Kherson, said in a Facebook post that “armed visitors” had taken part in a city executive meeting and that he had agreed to certain conditions, including a curfew and that pedestrians would walk only in ones or twos, in order to keep the city running.

Without mentioning the Russian army, he said: “I didn’t make any promises to them. I just have nothing to promise. I just asked not to shoot people.

“We do not have Ukrainian armed forces in the city, only civilians and people who want to LIVE here.

“Let it be for now. The flag above us is Ukrainian.

“And in order for it to remain the same, these requirements will have to be met. I can’t offer anything else.”

He said troops were in the streets and had forced their way into the city council building.

The disastrous move came a week after the Russian President pledged that he would not target cities or civilians, the southern port city of Mariupol is being “flattened”, with water and electricity supplies cut off and rail links shut down.

On Wednesday night a powerful explosion was reported near the central railway station in Kyiv, through which thousands of women and children are being evacuated.

The attack followed as a senior US official warned Russia was becoming more aggressive in targeting infrastructure in the Ukrainian capital.

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On Wednesday, Ukrainian police said that they had arrested a man who brought explosives hidden in a children’s toy to one of the Kyiv subway stations in which thousands of people have been sheltering.

Four other suspected saboteurs were arrested, including two carrying weapons, however, The Telegraph could not immediately verify the reports.

Heavy shelling also caused widespread casualties in Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, as Volodymyr Zelensky, the country’s president, said more than 2,000 civilians had been killed since the invasion began.

Mr Zelensky said late on Wednesday night that about 9,000 Russian military personnel had been killed, while Russia said the number was less than 500.

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