'Making life impossible' - Russian troops may have booby-trapped Kherson, claims ex-army boss

Lord Richard Dannatt says Ukraine has made 'significant progress'

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A former Head of the Army says that retreating Russian troops are likely to have extensively mined and booby-trapped the city of Kherson “to make life impossible”.

Speaking to GB News, Lord Richard Dannatt said: “The original Russian plan, going back to earlier in the year, had been to capture Kherson, which they did and then push through Mykolaiv towards Odessa to threaten Moldova, and that was what they really wanted to do. But frankly, that has failed.

“We've seen over recent months, the Ukrainian strength building, we saw their remarkable counter in Kharkiv in the north, and we've seen the significant progress that they've made in Kherson.

“Now, what we saw a couple of days ago was this rather extraordinary performance between the Russian commander and the Defence Minister going through a rather choreographed discussion on television, when the permission was given to withdraw from Kherson.”

Lord Dannatt spoke to Tom Harwood on GB News.
Lord Dannatt spoke to Tom Harwood on GB News.

Speaking to Tom Harwood on GB News, Lord Dannatt continued: “Ukrainian forces are pressing forward, albeit cautiously liberating some 10 or 12 villages in the last 36 hours and there is the strong prospect that 15-20,000 Russian troops are still on the west bank of the Dnieper River. The Russians may have a real problem in getting them back over the river.

“Many of the bridges have been dropped by Ukrainian artillery, so the Russians may be reduced to using barges and floating ferries to try and get those troops across.”

He told GB News: “Now, here's the question: will the Ukrainians pause and allow that to happen? Or will they follow up really hard and fast with artillery and infantry and armour and aim to capture those 20,000 soldiers? They may well do that.

Kherson is likely to have been extensively mined according to Lord Dannatt.
Kherson is likely to have been extensively mined according to Lord Dannatt.

“Then there's the wider issue: is all this a trap? Actually, I don't think it is a trap. I think it is a logical withdrawal on this part of the Russians to a much more defensible position on the east side of the river.

“However, because the city itself is on the west side, I have no doubt at all that the Russians as they withdraw, are preparing booby-traps, mines, every possible device to make life impossible in Kherson.

“Bear in mind they moved 70,000 of the civilians, probably mostly originally Russian-speaking and Russian-focused civilians. Kherson is probably going to become quite shortly in Ukrainian hands, but frankly, it will be a ghost city.”

Lord Dannatt added: “Autumn and Spring are the wet seasons, when this very open country becomes extraordinarily muddy, and very difficult to move in. And that's what they're going through at the present moment.

“I think it's miserable to be a soldier in either the Russian or the Ukrainian army, at the present time. Even more miserable in the Russian army because the Ukrainians have got better boots, they got better equipment, they've got better weather clothing, so the Ukrainians are suffering less than the Russians are in this very wet and muddy conditions.

“Now, in a few weeks to a month or so, the temperature will drop, the ground will harden up again and manoeuvre will be possible. It won't be much fun because it will be blowing cold, ice and snow, but those who have got better equipment will be able to move more easily.”