Kyiv, May 1 (EFE).- The Russian ruble was introduced Sunday in the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Kherson as Kremlin forces attempt to exert their control in the area by establishing a pro-Russian administration, the United Kingdom’s latest intelligence report warned.
“Since seizing the southern city of Kherson in early March, Russia has sought to legitimize its control of the city and surrounding areas through installing a pro-Russian administration,” the UK’s defense ministry said.
“Recent statements from this administration include declaring a return to Ukrainian control ‘impossible’ and announcing a four-month currency transition from the Ukrainian hryvnia to the Russian ruble. The Russian ruble is due to be used in Kherson from today,” the report continued.
According to the intelligence update, the move was indicative of “Russian intent to exert strong political and economic influence in Kherson over the long term.”
“Enduring control over Kherson and its transport links will increase Russia’s ability to sustain its advance to the north and west and improve the security of Russia’s control over Crimea,” intelligence analysts added.
According to Ukraine’s national service for communications, as reported by Ukrinform, Russian forces have switched off mobile networks and internet services in Kherson and part of Zaporizhia region.
Russian troops are attempting to reach the administrative borders of the Kherson region to create favorable conditions for an assault on Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in its latest update, according to Ukraine’s state-run news agency.
The report on the 67th day of combat also highlighted that the Russian army was ramping up its offensive and moving weapons and military equipment by rail located in other parts of the country.
It also highlighted that “units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus continue to cover the border in Brest and Gomel regions.”
According to the latest report by the Institute for the Study of War (US), “Russian forces in Kherson are pausing major offensive operations to improve their tactical positions and regroup to prepare for a renewed offensive to capture the administrative borders of Kherson.”
It added that despite more Russian forces deploying to the Izyum front, it was unlikely to enable any major advances.
“Russian forces appear increasingly unlikely to achieve any major advances in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces may be able to conduct wider counterattacks in the coming days,” the report added. EFE