Ukraine’s campaign to attack Russian supply lines and ammunition storage sites far behind the front lines continued this weekend, with Ukrainian officials reporting another long-range strike against Russian military positions in the southern region of Kherson.
Serhiy Khlan, a member of Kherson’s regional council, said Sunday there had been “a precise hit” at the military unit of the occupiers on Pestelia Street in Kherson city.
The unit was hit twice on Sunday morning, Khlan claimed.
Images and video geolocated to Kherson showed a thick column of grey smoke rising into the air Sunday morning.
“Eyewitnesses report the cries of Russians under the rubble. The occupiers shoot in the air when someone tries to get closer,” Khlan said.
He told Ukrainian television: “Thanks to modern Western weapons, Russian air defenses cannot intercept artillery [fire].”
Khlan also spoke about the difficulty for civilians trying to leave the region.
“Regarding evacuation from Kherson region, there is no humanitarian corridor. People leave at their own risk through Vasylivka towards Zaporizhzhia; the queue of cars can last one to two weeks,” Khlan said.
He claimed: “The occupiers demand money for departure or even take away personal belongings from our people. In case of leaving towards the Crimea, there are risks of being taken to the filtration camps.”
There is anecdotal evidence that hundreds of Kherson residents have crossed into Crimea and then traveled through Russia or Turkey.
What happened? Sunday’s attack follows a series of explosions near the airport in Kherson on Saturday, and at what appears to have been an ammunition storage site in the Donetsk region.
The official Russian news agency TASS has reported four explosions in the sky over Kherson city caused by what it said were Russian air defense systems.
TASS said its correspondent in Kherson reported smoke on Perekopskaya Street in the middle of the city.
“Leave Kherson”: Earlier on Friday, Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, called on residents to evacuate the Kherson region.
“I urge you to evacuate as soon as possible, by all means. Don’t wait,” Vereshchuk said.
“People must look for an opportunity to leave because our Armed Forces will de-occupy. There will be huge battles,” she said.
She warned residents they could be used as human shields by the Russians and staying in the occupied districts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions is dangerous.
Alexander Khinshtein, a deputy in the Russian Federation’s Duma (parliament), denied Ukraine’s claims of a hit.
“Ukrainian sources happily replicate a fake about a missile attack on the base of the Russian guard in Kherson,” he said on Telegram. “The missile hit a 4-storey building, where one of the support units of the Russian Guard used to be. A day before, it was relocated to another location.”
Images geolocated by CNN show that the badly damaged building is in the middle of Kherson, but it’s unclear whether it was occupied at the time it was struck.
Ukrainian military intelligence claimed Monday to have intercepted a call between Russian soldiers, in which one said that Ukrainian forces had “hit the most important command. They hit f****ng hard.” The soldier said 12 had been killed in the strike.
CNN is unable to verify the authenticity of the call.