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Russia, Ukraine Trade Blame for Shootings in Kherson

Kherson, Russian-occupied Ukraine. Maxim Tishchenko/TASS

Russia and Ukraine on Sunday accused each other of provoking fighting in Kherson, after a video showed clashes in the center of the occupied Ukrainian city the previous evening. 

The Ukrainian army is leading a counter-offensive to retake the southern city of Kherson, which was seized by the Russian army in the first weeks of the invasion.  

Russian official media Vesti-Crimea broadcast a video on Saturday evening showing an exchange of fire around two armored vehicles near Kherson train station.

The Russian-installed administration of Kherson said later in the day it had "destroyed" a group of attackers.

"There was a clash in the center of Kherson between sections of the Russian armed forces patrolling the streets of the city and an unidentified group of people," the administration said on Telegram.

On Sunday morning, Ukrainian southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said, "Yesterday's shootings and explosions in Kherson are provocations by the occupiers."

Gumeniuk added she had previously "warned that provocations are planned in the south between Sept. 17 and 20... to damage the image of the armed forces of Ukraine". 

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak blamed the shootings on "growing tensions" between different pro-Moscow factions preparing to flee amid news of the Ukrainian army's advances.

Kirill Stremousov, a pro-Moscow official in Kherson, said the city was "calm" on Sunday morning.

Kyiv is "trying to attack but without any results," he said.

"We won't say that everything is smooth and there is no problem in the Kherson region... [but] "everything will be fine."

There have been a series of targeted attacks against pro-Russian officials in Kherson and in other occupied areas in recent weeks.  

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