As many as 300 people may have been killed as the Russians entered the city, its mayor estimated, according to The New York Times. He said many of the bodies were rendered unrecognizable due to the Russians’ high-powered weapons.
The mayor and Russian defense officials claimed Wednesday that Russian troops gained control the city of about 250,000 to 300,000 people but other Ukraine officials – including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – countered that Ukrainians were still putting up a fight, Reuters reported.Kherson could become the first city captured by Russia since it launched the invasion of Ukraine a week ago.
The mayor said Kherson had no Ukrainian military forces in the city and claimed the city was “surrounded” by Russian troops, the Times reported.
Controlling Kherson would give Russia an advantage along Ukraine’s southern coast and help it make a westward push toward Odessa, Ukraine’s third-largest city, the Times reported.
Kolykhayev said Russian troops entering the council building told him they planned to set up a new administration similar to those in two breakaway states in eastern Ukraine, according to the Times.