Moscow-backed official gravely wounded after attack in Ukraine's Kherson

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MOSCOW (AFP) - An official with the Russian occupying authorities in Ukraine's Kherson region was gravely wounded on Saturday (Aug 6) after an assassination attempt, local Moscow-backed authorities said.

Russian state news agency Tass quoted an anonymous official in Russia-occupied Kherson as saying the attack targeted the deputy chief of the Kakhovka district, some 80km east of Kherson city.

"Vitaly Gur has been the victim of an assassination attempt at his home. He is in hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, in a critical state," the source said, without providing further details.

The Russian agency that investigates criminal cases in the country and in Russian-occupied areas, on Telegram confirmed there had been an "assassination attempt" against Gur.

Over the past months, several assassination attempts have been reported against officials in Ukrainian regions seized by Russia since the start of its military operation in Ukraine in February.

The occupying administration in Kherson city, meanwhile, on Friday evening said its head Vladimir Saldo had been transported to Moscow for medical treatment.

Saldo, 66, had said earlier on Telegram he was suffering from complications from a coronavirus infection.

The renowned Moscow-backed Ukrainian politician had in the past been mayor of Kherson, as well as a member of Ukraine's parliament.

Russia has taken control of a large part of the Kherson region and part of nearby Zaporizhzhia in recent months, and has started to introduce the rouble and distribute Russian passports there.

A Ukrainian army counter-offensive has managed to claw back parts of Kherson region, but has not yet managed to break through Russian defences to reach Kherson city.

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