Russians enter Kherson, kill as many as 300, with many bodies unrecognizable, mayor says: reports

Russians enter Kherson, kill as many as 300, with many bodies unrecognizable, mayor says: reports

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Russian troops were seen Thursday in the center of Kherson, a Black Sea port city in southern Ukraine, a day after Russia claimed to have taken control there, according to reports.

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.

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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.

Local residents work among remains of a residential building destroyed by shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine March 2, 2022. 

Local residents work among remains of a residential building destroyed by shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine March 2, 2022.  (Reuters)

In remarks Wednesday, Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said Russian troops had entered the council building. He called for civilians to stay off the streets at night, Reuters reported.

The mayor said Kherson had no Ukrainian military forces in the city and claimed the city was “surrounded” by Russian troops, the Times reported.

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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.