Russian Defense Minister orders withdrawal of Russian forces from West Bank to Kherson

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson administration, is pictured in his office in the city of Kherson, Ukraine, July 20. (AFP/Getty Images)

One of the highest Russian-appointed officials in the occupied Ukrainian territory has been killed, according to the Russian-installed leader in the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, and reported in Russian state news agencies.

“It is very difficult for me to say that Kirill Stremousov died today. He died in the territory of the Kherson region, traveling in a car that had an accident,” Saldo said in a statement on Telegram. .

Saldo called Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of the region, “one of the brightest, able to speak and present people with the truth about what is happening in the Kherson region.”

Stremousov died in a traffic accident, the region’s chief’s press secretary said, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Russian state media company Vesti (VGTRK) said that according to Kherson region health minister Vadim Ilmiev, Stremousov was killed in an accident on the highway between Kherson and Armyansk in Crimea.

Valeria Petrusevich, head of the non-profit organization Good Peace-Crimean Volunteers, also wrote on her Telegram channel that “Kirill Stremousov, deputy governor of the Kherson region, died. The information is correct, I know it personally. It was an accident. Details later.”

Stremousov, a Ukrainian who quickly sided with the Russian occupation when Kherson fell early in the invasion, had become one of Russia’s most outspoken and outspoken nominees.

As deputy head of the military administration of the Kherson region, Stremousov played a leading role in organizing and supporting the referendum on the declared annexation of Kherson by Russia and, more recently, was the driving force behind the evacuation of civilians from the West Bank to Kherson, as Ukrainian forces pushed towards the Dnieper River.

On Tuesday, Stremousov said: “Most residents who have decided to stay in Kherson are only beginning to realize the gravity of the situation and my warnings.”

Stremousov has frequently written on Telegram to describe Ukrainian officials and forces as “Nazis” and “Fascists”. But he also criticized the missteps of the Russian military. He had blamed military setbacks in Kherson on “incompetent commanders” who had not been held accountable for their mistakes.

Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev said that Stremousov “was a real patriot of Russia, brave and courageous, in all situations he kept in touch and considered it his duty to inform the inhabitants of the Kherson region of what was happening. It was the case this morning too. It is an irreparable loss.

Earlier on Wednesday, Stremousov posted a video about the situation on the front lines, in particular the fighting around Snihurivska north of the city of Kherson, where reports indicate that Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian defences.

Stremousov was 45, according to Vesti.

Christi C. Elwood