Top Russian-Installed Official In Ukraine's Kherson Region Reportedly Dies In Car Crash

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

The Russian-installed deputy governor of Ukraine's Kherson region, one of the highest profile occupation figures, has reportedly died in a traffic accident.

Russian pro-Kremlin military reporter Semyon Pegov, blogger Boris Rozhin, and the RIA-Novosti state news agency quoted the Russian-installed administration of the Kherson region as saying that the traffic accident on November 9 that killed Kirill Stremousov occurred near the city of Henichesk.

Moscow and Russian-installed officials in Kherson have said for weeks that they are pushing residents of Kherson to move to "other parts of the Russian Federation."

After Russian troops took control of parts of the Kherson region and the regional capital, Kherson, in March, Stremousov had been the major spokesman of the Russian-installed authorities there.

He was the first person to announce Russia's decision to annex the region, along with three other Ukrainian regions, parts of which are under the control of Russian troops, via so-called "referendums" in September.

Before Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in late February, Stremousov was a Ukrainian politician. He was known for his pro-Russia stance and the pro-Moscow public events he organized in the region. He was an active member of pro-Russia movements and parties in the region for years.

Stremousov unsuccessfully tried to get elected to the Ukrainian parliament in 2019 and to the post of mayor of Kherson in 2020.

Since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, there have been several assassination attempts conducted against Moscow-appointed officials in Kherson and other territories occupied by Russian troops.

Several officials are reported to have been killed, though in September, the Russian-appointed deputy mayor of the city of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region, Vitaliy Hura, and the city's de facto deputy police chief, Serhiy Tomko, turned out to be alive after their deaths were widely reported.

They said in televised interviews that their assassinations were faked by Russia’s Federal Security Service to thwart potential attempts on their lives allegedly being planned by Ukrainian intelligence.

Reports about Stremousov’s death come as Ukrainian armed forces continue their counteroffensive against Russian troops.

Kherson is considered by many military analysts as the most important of the four partially occupied Ukrainian regions that Russia announced as annexed in September.

It controls both the only land route to the Crimean Peninsula and the mouth of the Dnieper River that bisects Ukraine.