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Russia-Installed Kherson Official Hospitalized as Kyiv Wages Offensive

Ukrainian servicemen ride on tanks

Volodymyr Saldo, who was appointed by the Kremlin to lead Ukraine’s southern Kherson region after it was captured during Vladimir Putin’s war, has been hospitalized when Ukraine launched a counter-offensive to retake the strategic city.

The official, who was named “Head of the Kherson Civilian Military Administration” by Russia after taking control of the area in the first phase of his invasion, claimed Thursday that he was hospitalized and that he delegated his “authority” to his “acting director”, Sergei Eliseev – a former officer in the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

In a statement on his Telegram channel, Saldo said that after meeting with the Kremlin-installed government of the Kherson region, the “Minister of Health” approached him, and after “looking at my appearance, began to insist on an immediate medical examination.”

“Of course I refused, but the minister brought doctors to the office, who after an investigation insist on immediate hospitalization. After consultation with the prime minister and colleagues, I decided to agree to the doctors’ proposals,” added Saldo. .

He said Eliseev would perform his duties in his absence. According to Latvia-based independent news channel Meduza, Eliseev was previously with the FSB and has worked in the government of Russia’s Kaliningrad region.

Ukrainian tanks move to the frontline in Ukraine’s Luhansk region on February 25, 2022.
ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP/Getty Images

Saldo, who served as mayor of Kherson between 2002 and 2012, has publicly expressed support for Putin’s war against Ukraine. In March, just weeks after the war started, Saldo claimed that “Kherson is Ukraine,” but a month later he was named head of the Russian-controlled regional administration.

In July, Russian-appointed officials in Kherson claimed they had prevented an attempt on Balance’s life. Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti quoted officials as saying that a bomb had been planted on a road on which Saldo was driving, but that it was “discovered and defused in time”.

The officials said at the time that Balance was in good health and “continues to perform his duties”.

News of Balance’s ill health comes amid a major Ukrainian counter-offensive to retake Kherson.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on July 24 that his troops were moving “step by step” towards the complete liberation of Kherson.

The acting governor of Kherson, Dmytro Butriy, said on Ukrainian television on Tuesday: “So far 53 settlements have been confirmed to have been liberated.”

In recent weeks, Ukrainian artillery, special forces and partisans have destroyed key Russian hubs and attacked vital railways and bridges, in part with the help of Washington-supplied M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, also known as HIMARS. News week previously reported.

News week has contacted the Kremlin and Ukraine’s foreign ministry for comment.