Russian invaders plan to leave Melitopol, claims city’s mayor

9 June, 02:18 PM
The city of Melitopol (Photo:inform.zp.ua)

The city of Melitopol (Photo:inform.zp.ua)

Fearing attack by Ukrainian forces, invading Russian troops have abandoned plans for a long-term occupation of Melitopol and are preparing to retreat, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov claimed on June 8.

The invaders informed the residents of the city that they are going to hold a so-called "referendum" and annex the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhya to Russia, the mayor said on Ukrainian national television.

At the same time, the invaders realized they wouldn't be able to withstand attacks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for long, so they began to wage a heavy propaganda war, Fedorov said.

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“There are several signs telling us they will not be in Melitopol for long,” the mayor said. 

“The first one is the transfer of stolen grain by railroads. The second is the removal of all checkpoints in the area, except for the ones in Melitopol and near roads of national importance.” 

Fedorov added that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have created huge problems for the Russians in Kherson Oblast. The invaders want to regroup their forces and try to keep the temporarily occupied territory of the region under their control.

The head of the Zaporizhzhya Regional Military Administration Oleksander Starukh on June 7 said Russian invasion forces were withdrawing troops from Melitopol and part of the oblast’s Vasilyevsky district. 

U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War confirmed in one of its latest reports that Russian troops have begun withdrawing units in Zaporizhzhya Oblast.

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