Russia-installed authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Wednesday said they finalized a plan to evacuate 50,000 civilians because of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The pro-Kremlin official Vladimir Saldo took it to Telegram, adding that, “We are expecting to evacuate between 50,000 & 60,000 people to the left bank of the Dnieper.”
Saldo added that he expected the evacuation to take six(6) days and as per the reports, evacuation by boat had already begun. Mentioning another pro-Russian official, it added that the evacuees could travel to Russia.
The reports further added that, “Local residents have received text messages imploring them to evacuate “before the Ukrainian army begins bombing.”
Russia’s military commander for Ukraine operations said on Tuesday that Russian forces were planning a “safe evacuation.”
Russian forces captured the city of Kherson and the surrounding region at the beginning of the conflict in the spring.
Ukraine mounted a counteroffensive in the south at the end of the summer and has been pushing closer to Kherson.
Ukrainian advances have been on the right bank of the Dniepr, where Kherson is located, and Ukrainian strikes have targeted bridges to the left bank to disrupt supply lines.
Russian general Sergei Surovikin said on Tuesday on Russian state channel Rossiya 24 that the Russian army “will above all ensure the safe evacuation of the population.”
Surovikin said Ukrainian strikes targeting civilian infrastructure “create a direct threat to the lives of residents.”
“The situation in the area of the special military operation can be described as tense. The enemy is not abandoning its attempts to attack Russian troop positions,” he said.