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Moscow-Backed Authorities Say Foiled Attack in Southern Ukraine

A serviceman and local residents are seen on a street in Kherson, Ukraine. Sergey Bobylev / TASS

Moscow-backed authorities of the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson said Monday they had foiled an attack against their local leader.

In recent weeks, attacks against pro-Russian representatives have increased in the occupied southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

On Monday, the Moscow-backed administration claimed that its leader, Vladimir Saldo, narrowly escaped an attack.

An improvised explosive device was planted on one of his usual driving routes, which was supposed to detonate as he drove past, the administration said.

"Residents of Kherson, who discovered a suspicious object, promptly informed the Russian Armed Forces," the administration said in a statement on messaging app Telegram. 

The device was defused by explosives experts, it added, and officials released a picture of what appeared to be the improvised bomb.

Earlier in the day, occupation authorities in the region of Zaporizhzhia said they had killed a Ukrainian "saboteur" who targeted the home of the head of the Melitopol district at night.

The attacker put up resistance during detention and was shot and killed, said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-backed regional administration. The head of the Melitopol district was unharmed.

Since Russia's occupation of the region of Kherson and large parts of the region of Zaporizhzhia, the Kremlin has been pressing ahead with a Russification campaign there. 

A senior official from the Russian parliament has said Russia has come to stay there "forever."

In late June, a Moscow-appointed official in the region of Kherson was killed in an explosion.

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