Kirill Stremousov: Senior Russian Kherson official dies in car crash, officials sayPublished13 …

Kirill Stremousov: Senior Russian Kherson official dies in car crash, officials say

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Image source, Getty Images

The Russian-installed deputy governor of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, has been killed in a car crash, local officials and media say.

Mr Stremousov, 45, was appointed two months after Russia’s invasion.

He was one of the most prominent proponents of the Russian occupation and became known for aggressive statements on social media.

Stremousov, who was Ukrainian, was wanted for treason by the Ukrainian police.

Kherson’s Russian-appointed governor Vladimir Saldo said his deputy had been killed – but Ukrainian officials have expressed scepticism about the reports, which cannot be independently verified.

Mr Saldo added that the dead official had left behind five children, and he had a sixth on the way.

Interfax news agency quoted officials as saying the crash happened on a road between Kherson city and Armyansk, a town to the south-east in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Media caption,

Watch: Ros Atkins asks Jeremy Bowen about reporting from Ukraine’s frontline

Hours after the reports of Mr Stremousov’s death, from the western bank of the Dnipro river, meaning they are leaving Kherson city.

The Russian forces are hoping to defend the eastern bank as Ukrainian troops stage a counter-offensive.

Kherson, the only Ukrainian regional centre captured by Russian troops after the February invasion, lies on the western bank.

Mr Stremousov was well known on social media for his daily addresses to the people of Kherson, often talking about news from the frontline.

The BBC’s Tim Whewell, , describes him as a colourful character who seemed to love publicity and often appeared in front of the camera unshaven and in casual clothes.

In recent weeks, he had urged civilians to cross the river in the face of the Ukrainian advance. Ukraine accuses Russia of forcibly deporting local residents.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, governor of the Crimea port city of Sevastopol, described Mr Stremousov as “a real patriot of Russia, brave and fearless… it’s an irreplaceable loss”.

Several Russian-appointed officials in occupied Ukraine have been killed or injured in attacks.

Ukrainian forces continued their advance on Wednesday, with reports of heavy fighting around the town of Snihurivka, a strategic town to the north-east of Kherson.

Meanwhile, images seen by Reuters news agency showed a key bridge over the Inhulets river at Darivka, east of Kherson, had collapsed into the water.

It was unclear how the bridge was destroyed, although there was speculation it might have been blown up by retreating Russian troops.

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