A Russian official in the Kherson region died in an accident, which Putin blamed
Nov 9 (Reuters) – One of Russia’s most prominent officials in Ukraine was killed in a car crash on Wednesday, another blow to Moscow in the southern Kherson region amid an impending withdrawal of Russian forces.
The death of Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of the local administration, was confirmed by his boss, Vladimir Saldo, the acting governor of Kherson, which is backed by Russia.
Stremousov went from being an obscure blogger and local politician before Russia’s February 24 invasion to becoming a figurehead in what Ukraine says is an illegal occupation of Kherson that it plans to topple by force.
President Vladimir Putin posthumously awarded Stremousova the Order of Courage, a prestigious state award, according to a Kremlin statement.
A Russian official said the accident occurred after the driver of Stremousov’s vehicle tried to avoid hitting a truck that had made a dangerous maneuver.
Vladimir Rogov, from the neighboring region of Zaporizhzhia, wrote on Telegram that the truck driver was to blame.
The Russian news agency RIA published a video of Stremousov’s destroyed vehicle, which was in several parts. Blood stains could be seen on the road.
Stremousov was a very visible face on social networks, making pro-Moscow statements. Lately, hours before his death, he denounced what he called Ukrainian “Nazis” and said that the Russian army was “completely in control” of the situation in the south.
Ukraine considered him a collaborator and traitor.
Stremous’s death deepened the sense of disarray surrounding the defense of Kherson. A few hours after the fatal accident, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered his troops to retreat from an occupied Ukrainian city.
Reporting by Reuters, Writing by Mark Trevelyan Editing by Andrew Osborn, David Ljunggren, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis
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