More than a week after Moscow promised residents of the partially occupied Kherson region free shelter to entice them to flee to Russia, the Russian-installed government ordered all residents living here to leave “immediately” on Saturday pending an advance of Ukrainian forces, who have launched a counter-offensive to recapture one of the first urban areas Russia took after it invaded the country
Kyiv, Ukraine,UPDATED: Oct 22, 2022 21:31 IST
Evacuees from Kherson gather on Friday as they arrive at the train station in Dzhankoi, Crimea. Russian authorities have encouraged residents of Kherson to evacuate and warn that the city may come under massive Ukrainian shelling. (Photo: AP)
By India Today Web Desk: More than a week after Moscow promised free housing to residents of the partially occupied Kherson region to entice them to flee to Russia, the Russian-installed government ordered all residents living here to leave “immediately” on Saturday pending a advance of Ukraine troops, who have launched a counter-offensive to recapture one of the first urban areas Russia took after it invaded the country.
The pro-Kremlin regional government has asked civilians to move deeper into the Russian-occupied territory, citing a tense situation at the front and the threat of shelling and alleged “terror attacks” by Kiev.
Kherson is one of four Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Russia through mock referendums last month. The three other annexed regions are Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhya.
On Friday, Ukrainian forces bombed Russian positions in the province, bringing them closer to a full-scale attack on the capital as they targeted the supply routes of pro-Kremlin forces across the Dnieper River. The presidential office said in its morning statement that five explosive-laden drones were downed in the central Cherkasy region southeast of Kiev.
The western town of Khmelnytskyi, which straddles the Bug River and was home to some 275,000 people before the war, was without electricity shortly after local media reported several loud explosions.
The mayor of Lutsk, a city of 215,000 in the far west of Ukraine, made a similar appeal to Telegram on Saturday. Power in Lutsk was partially cut after Russian missiles hit local power facilities, he said.
The central city of Uman, a major pilgrimage site for Hasidic Jews that had a population of some 100,000 before the war, was also plunged into darkness after a rocket hit a nearby power plant, regional authorities said on Telegram.
Rolling blackouts took effect Saturday morning in the capital and four surrounding regions, including Cherkasy, in response to the reduced power supply. The state energy company Ukrenergo continued to urge all Ukrainians to save energy.
Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on consumers to curb their power consumption between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. daily and avoid using energy-hungry devices such as electric heaters.
Over the past two weeks, Moscow has stepped up its attacks on key civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. About 40% of the country’s electrical grid has been severely damaged, officials said. Zelenskyy said earlier this week that 30% of Ukraine’s power plants have been destroyed since Oct. 10.
(With inputs from AP)