Pro-Moscow force renews evacuation of Ukraine’s Kherson

Moscow, Russia AFP

Russian occupation authorities announced Tuesday the movement of further large numbers of people from Ukraine’s Kherson region amid a counter-offensive by Kyiv, which has already seen 70,000 people flee.

“I decided to extend the evacuation zone by 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Dnipro,” pro-Moscow governor Vladimir Saldo said in a Telegram video.

“Measures for forced evacuations will be applied from November 6 for people who remain,” said on social media the administration for the town of Kakhovka, one of the places involved.

The evacuations would be carried out by road, the post added.

Saldo had already said earlier Tuesday that 70,000 more people along the left bank of the Dnipro River would be moved deeper into the region or to Russia.

“We have already begun this work,” he told the Solovyov Live YouTube channel.

He said the resettlement was being carried out because of the risk of a “massive missile attack” by Ukrainian forces on a local dam.

He admitted it would be a “difficult” period, as Ukrainian forces advance from west to east, despite Russian resistance.

Russia’s occupation authorities last week said 70,000 civilians had left their homes located on the right bank of the Dnipro River in a first wave of evacuations.

On Monday Saldo had said the latest evacuations would allow the Russian army to set up defences and repel a possible Ukrainian attack.

Kyiv’s forces are preparing for a fierce battle to retake the region’s main city Kherson and the surrounding areas on the right bank of the Dnipro after making major gains in Ukraine’s east and south.

The city, with a pre-conflict population of around 288,000 people, was one of the first to fall to Moscow’s forces after President Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border in February. Retaking it would mark a major milestone for Kyiv.

© Agence France-Presse