A Russian-installed official in an occupied region of Ukraine blamed Kyiv’s military for a Monday attack on a statue of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Russian Communist Party.
Volodymyr Leontiev, the Kremlin-approved head of the district council in the occupied city of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson Oblast, told Russian-state media outlet TASS that a Ukrainian military drone was responsible for an attack that left the monument of the Soviet revolutionary in flames. Kyiv has not commented on the incident as of press time.
Kherson has been the site of heavy conflict throughout the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched against Ukraine in February 2022. During the early stages of the conflict, Putin’s forces seized control of much of the Kherson region. However, a successful counteroffensive later that year saw Kyiv reclaim significant portions of the oblast, including the city of Kherson in November.
Despite the armed forces of Ukraine liberating parts of the Kherson Oblast, Putin nonetheless illegitimately annexed the region and four other Ukrainian territories to Russia in September 2022. Kherson has since seen much fighting during the ongoing counteroffensive that Ukraine launched in the summer, while Nova Kakhovka—the site of a dam explosion in June that garnered much international attention—remains under Russia’s control.
Most, a local media outlet in the Kherson region, posted an image on its website of the attack on the Lenin statue in Nova Kakhovka’s town square. Ukraine’s coat of arms—a trident—also appears to have been drawn on the ground in front of the statue.
Several social media users later posted Most’s image on X, formerly Twitter.
“Yesterday [Monday], a significant amount of explosives was dropped—and today it was ‘advertised’ as a special achievement—next to a monument that was installed by our grandfathers, and some people’s great-grandfathers, here in front of the executive committee on the square,” Leontiev said, according to a post on the Telegram channel for TASS.
Leontiev added that figures in Ukraine have been sharing footage of the incident while bragging about the attack on the statue as a “special achievement.”
Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email for comment.
TASS reported that the Lenin statue received minor damage from the explosion, while windows in a nearby administration building were shattered by the blast.
Ukrainian news outlet Ukrainska Pravda said the Lenin statue had been installed by Russian authorities in April 2022 after the monument had previously been removed in 2014 by local officials.