Russia tipped for 'desertion' as Ukraine recovers abandoned military kit in Kherson

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Moscow’s military forces are tipped to abandon the Russian-occupied region of Kherson as the Ukrainian defence has launched a counter-offensive bid to reclaim the city. Despite being controlled by President Putin’s forces since the early weeks of the invasion, new footage said to be from within Kherson, has revealed evidence of Russian troops fleeing the territory. Abandoned Russian military equipment within the region is suggested to be an indication of occupying forces “deserting” the territory as Ukrainian troops move in.

A video of “abandoned Russian kit” uncovered in Kherson was published on social media by Euan MacDonald, editor-at-large for national news outlet The New Voice of Ukraine.

The clothing includes military vests that appear to be labelled with Russian writing, as well as a full uniform laid neatly out on the ground.

In a caption accompanying the post, Mr MacDonald said: “Video from the Ukrainian military, said to be from Kherson: Abandoned Russian kit, even a full uniform laid out on the ground. 

“A possible explanation for this is that Russian soldiers are changing into civilian clothing and deserting, as has happened before in Ukraine.”

Russian troops are suggested to have ditched the clothing, which clearly identifies them as belonging to President Putin’s forces, before fleeing Kherson.

Reports of similar activity emerged in April after intelligence suggested Russian troops had disguised themselves in civilian clothing to evade Ukrainian forces as President Putin’s military relocated to launch a renewed attack in the east.

A report from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the time warned that Russian troops had stolen “motor vehicles and civilian clothes from local residents.”

Such behaviour is a violation of the Geneva Convention which requires military forces to have a “fixed distinctive sign recognisable at a distance” in order to entitle them to prisoner of war protections.

Read more: Putin’s invasion expected to become ground zero for WW3

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