Pro-Russian authorities across the Ukrainian region of Kherson, which Moscow claims to have annexed, implored those remaining in the north of the province to leave ‘immediately’ in the face of Kyiv’s advancing counteroffensive on Saturday.
The recommendation to leave came amid the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Russia launched 36 rockets overnight in a heavy attack on Ukraine, after reported strikes on energy infrastructure that resulted in over 1 million people being left without power.
The military of Ukraine have been moving forward along the west bank of the Dnipro River & are now believed to be closing in on the Kherson region’s main city, which is also called Kherson.
The first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian troops in February, Kherson would be a major prize in Ukraine’s counteroffensive should its forces succeed in recapturing it.
In recent days, Russia has been moving Kherson residents to the other side of the Dnipro River, in what it terms a civilian evacuation, but Kyiv has described as “deportations.”
The pro-Moscow authorities via social media stated that, “Because of the tense situation on the front, the increased threat of mass shelling of the city & the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians in the region must immediately leave the city & cross to the left bank of the [Dnipro] river.”
A Russian-installed official in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, told the Russian news agency Interfax on Saturday that at least 25,000 people had already made the crossing.