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Amid celebration after retaking Kherson from retreating Russian troops over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Kremlin intentionally destroyed critical infrastructure before withdrawing, leaving behind a humanitarian catastrophe.
“The occupiers destroyed all critical infrastructure — communication, water supply, heat, electricity,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address to the nation. “But we will restore everything. Believe me. Although it takes time for this, it is already clear to everyone that the outcome will be ours, the Ukrainian one.”
While the Russian retreat from Kherson is being considered a major defeat for Moscow as this was the only regional capital Russia had managed to take and occupy since the beginning of the invasion in February, there are concerns that the Kremlin is preparing for another major bombardment of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.
During their retreat from Kherson, Russian forces allegedly blew up the Nova Kakhovka dam, as indicated by video footage aired on Russian media.
Russian forces also destroyed any crossing points between the city of Kherson and occupied territory across the Dnipro River.
Utility companies are working to restore critical infrastructure and Ukrainian forces are clearing thousands of mines planted by retreating Russian forces, according to Reuters. Reconnecting the electricity supply is a main priority, while regional officials have said that gas supplies were stable.
While Russia has withdrawn from the city of Kherson, its forces still occupy the Kherson Oblast on the eastern bank of the Dnipro, where Ukraine fears it is regrouping for another attack.
PBS cited British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace as saying that while the Kremlin will be “worried” by the loss of Kherson it would be dangerous to underestimate Moscow. “If they need more cannon fodder, that is what they’ll be doing,” he said.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,