Russia is evacuating the city of Kherson. The pro-Russian authorities of that region of southern Ukraine, annexed by Russia in September, have urged citizens this Saturday to leave the capital after the advance of local troops in that part of the country. “All civilians in Kherson must immediately leave the city,” the Kherson Region Administration wrote in a notice on its Telegram account.
Putin declares martial law in annexed Ukrainian territories
“The civilians of Kherson and all subdivisions and ministries of the civil administration must cross today to the left bank of the Dnieper,” he stressed. The authorities maintain that, due to the “tense situation” on the front, “the increased danger of a massive bombardment of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left bank of the Dnieper”.
“Take care of the safety of your family and friends! Do not forget documents, money, valuables and clothing”, have indicated the pro-Russians, who began an evacuation process on Wednesday of up to 60,000 civilians from the region, but not yet specifically aimed at residents of the provincial capital. Barges leave the Rechport river port for the town of Oleshky on the left bank of the river.
So far approximately 25,000 residents of the region have moved to the left bank of the Dnieper, pro-Russian deputy governor Kiril Stremoúsov said today. Among the evacuees, who for kyiv are illegally deported people, are 46 orphans from an orphanage in the city of Kherson who were transferred to the annexed Crimean peninsula, as Stremoúsov admitted the day before.
The pro-Russians fear a major Ukrainian offensive around the regional capital, the only one in Russian hands. A new Ukrainian advance could leave them surrounded, with no escape on the right bank of Kherson when practically all the roads to the other side of the river have been damaged by Ukrainian troops.
Concern over the New Kakhovka Dam
In recent hours, Moscow and kyiv have accused each other of wanting to blow up or bomb the New Kajovka dam, in that southern region of the country, an infrastructure that contains about 18 million cubic meters of water. If the dam bursts, more than 80 towns would be flooded, including the city of Kherson, according to information released by Ukraine.
“In the event of a dam breach, the territory of the urban community of Kherson will experience catastrophic flooding in two hours,” warned the head of the Kherson Military Administration loyal to kyiv, Galina Lugova, while Zelensky has requested the shipment of an international observation mission to Kakhovka.
The initial rumors jumped this Friday, when Ukrainian military intelligence stated that Russia had already mined the dam in April and that this week it had done the same with the gates and supports. “The Russians foresee a rapid recapture of the Ukrainian forces from the right bank of the Kherson region and are preparing a series of terrorist attacks in this territory,” he added.
Western analysts believe that Russia could use this blast to cover the withdrawal of its troops at that point and prevent Ukraine from going deeper into the province, where it has already recovered 88 towns as part of the counteroffensive that it has put on the ropes since September. to Russian troops in parts of the east and now the south of the country.
The head of the pro-Russian administration of New Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontiev, has meanwhile claimed that water has begun to be “discharged” from the dam to reduce the existing liquid level and thus minimize the disaster that a breach would cause by a Ukrainian attack.
The pro-Russians counter that it is Ukraine that plans to destroy the dam to prevent the defense and evacuation of up to 60,000 citizens of Kherson, which began on Wednesday.
Russia leaves more than a million Ukrainians without power
Russian troops, meanwhile, left more than a million Ukrainians without power this Saturday with a series of new attacks on the country’s power grid. Ukraine has counted between 33 and 36 missiles launched by Russia from the Rostov region and from various ships in the Black Sea, of which, they say, 18 were intercepted, several of them in the kyiv region.
However, in provinces such as the southern provinces of Odessa, Mykolaiv and Kirovograd, the western provinces of Volhynia, Rivne and Khmelnitsky and the central Cherkasy, the missiles managed to hit electrical infrastructure. For example, the mayor of the city of Lutsk in Volonia, Ihor Polishchuk, has claimed that the power plant was so damaged that “it cannot be repaired”.
The national electricity operator, Ukrenergo, has indicated that “the scale of the damage is comparable or can exceed the consequences of the attack from October 10 to 12”, while the deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian Presidency, Kyrylo Tymoshchenko, has encrypted in 1.5 million consumers who have been left without electricity in up to seven different regions of the country.