Russia has claimed that over 70,000 people have left Kherson ahead of an anticipated Ukrainian attempt to retake the city.
Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-appointed governor of the occupied Kherson region, also said that the remains of Prince Grigory Potemkin had been removed from the city’s cathedral.
The Russian aristocrat is heavily associated with his country’s conquest of Ukrainian lands in the 18th century.
Analysts at the UK’s Ministry of Defense believe that the civilian exodus and removal of Potemkin “likely pre-empts Russian intent to expedite withdrawal from the area.”
They wrote: “On 27 October 2022, the Russian-appointed governor of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said that more than 70,000 people had now left Kherson city.
“On 26 October 2022, Saldo also claimed that Russia had removed the remains of the well-known 18th century Russian statesman, Prince Grigory Potemkin, from his tomb in Kherson’s cathedral to the east of the Dnipro.
“This symbolic removal of Potemkin and the civilian exodus likely pre-empts Russian intent to expedite withdrawal from the area.”