Russian-appointed official in occupied Kherson killed in blast

Ukrainians are staging attacks on Russian-backed authorities in Kherson as counteroffensive stalls.

A man stands atop a car with a Ukrainian flag during a rally against the Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, March 5, 2022
A man stands atop a car with a Ukrainian flag during a rally against the Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, March 5, 2022 [File: Olexandr Chornyi/AP Photo]

A senior official in the Russian-installed administration of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region has been killed in an apparent assassination, the latest in a string of attacks against Russian-backed authorities.

Dmitry Savluchenko, head of the families, youth, and sports department of the Kherson military-civilian administration, was killed in a bomb blast on Friday.

The deputy leader of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, confirmed the identity of the deceased to the RIA Novosti news agency.

The press service of the city’s civilian and military administration told Russia’s TASS news agency it was a “targeted assassination”, adding that the official was the only person killed in the blast.

TASS said the explosion had burned two cars and shattered the windows of a nearby four-storey house.

Kherson, which sits just northwest of the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula and was occupied during the first week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has seen regular civilian protests that were put down by Moscow’s troops.

Ukrainian media have reported increasing partisan activity against the Russian-backed authorities.

On Wednesday, a pro-Russian official in the village of Chornobaivka survived the explosion of a bomb planted in his car.

Ukraine’s military said on Monday that two Russian soldiers had been killed and another wounded when a gunman opened fire at a waterside café in the city of Kherson.

On June 18, a local prison head who had joined the Russian-installed administration was wounded in a bomb blast, according to local reports.

In late May, the mayor of Enerhodar in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, who was appointed after Russian troops took control of the city, was wounded in an explosion that Moscow blamed on Ukrainian nationalists.

The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, which had 300,000 inhabitants before the war, has virtually been cut off from the outside world since it fell into Russian hands.

Russian armed forces have reconfigured television towers in the region to broadcast Russian television channels for free. Moscow also introduced the rouble and began distributing Russian passports.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kherson has stalled amid fierce battles raging in the Donbas. 

The Ukrainian military is counting on new deliveries of Western weapons to turn the tide.

On Wednesday, Kyiv said it had received High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, from the United States. The long-range missiles will extend Ukraine’s reach in the ongoing artillery war with Russia.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies