Yuri Sobolevsky, a top Ukrainian official in the southern Kherson region, made the remark on Friday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The deputy head of the Kherson regional council said: “More than enemy fire, the residents of the Kherson region fear their backyards filling up with the drone of Ural truck engines and the sound of expletives uttered with a Russian accent.”
He added: “The occupiers are searching and detaining people like in the Soviet Union in the 1930s.”
Three-quarters of residents fled Donetsk region: official
Meanwhile, “three fourths of the population have left the eastern Donetsk region,” the head of the local authorities Pavlo Kirilenko told Ukrainian TV.
The government in Kyiv ordered a compulsory evacuation of the embattled region earlier this month, the PAP news agency reported.
Kirilenko said on Friday that seven civilians were killed and 14 injured over the past 24 hours in the continuing Russian shelling of the Donetsk region.
He specified there were three deaths in Bakhmut, two in Kurakhove and one each in Avdviivka and Maryinka.
Ukraine repels Russian attacks in Luhansk region
In the next-door Luhansk region, Russian forces attempted to break through Ukrainian defences near 14 settlements, but these attempts ended in failure, with Russian troops forced to withdraw, the Ukrainska Pravda news website reported on Friday.
It quoted the head of the Luhansk region military administration, Serhii Haidai, as saying that "the Russians tried to break through the defences of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from different sides near 14 settlements and once again stormed Verkhnokamianske, but retreated to previously occupied positions again."
Russian Black Sea Fleet’s aviation potential ‘degraded’ after blasts
The UK Ministry of Defence on Friday evaluated the effects of explosions earlier this week at the Russian-operated Saky military airfield in western Crimea.
In their latest intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine, the UK analysts wrote: “At least five Su-24 Fencer fighter-bombers and three Su-30 Flanker H multi-role jets were almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged in the blasts. Saky’s central dispersal area has suffered serious damage, but the airfield probably remains serviceable.”
The British defence ministry added: “Saky was primarily used as a base for the aircraft of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet. The fleet’s naval aviation capability is now significantly degraded.”
According to the UK defence ministry, “the incident will likely prompt the Russian military to revise its threat perception. Crimea has probably been seen as a secure rear-area.”
Russia, Iran strengthen partnership
Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has reported that “Russia and Iran have expanded their strategic partnership since Russia invaded Ukraine in February."
In an analysis published on Thursday night, the US-based think tank said: “Senior Russian and Iranian officials have met frequently in recent months to boost cooperation and sign economic and military agreements.”
According to the US experts, “Moscow and Tehran have long cooperated when their interests have aligned, especially in opposing the US in the Middle East, but their recent engagements highlight more concerted efforts to strengthen their partnership.”
The ISW reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's Ebrahim Raisi "have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders.”
The think tank added: “Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began.”
According to the Institute for the Study of War, “these interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party.”
The US experts concluded: “This partnership will likely challenge US and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.”
Friday is day 170 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, pravda.com.ua, understandingwar.org