Russia evacuates Kherson residents as Ukraine advances

Kyiv, UKRAINE (AP) — In a sign that continued and sustained Ukrainian military interests along the Southern Front worry the Kremlin, Russia wants to take refuge in the partially occupied Kherson. It promises free accommodation to local residents.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Husnurin said the Russian-backed leadership of Kherson, one of four regions of Ukraine illegally annexed to Moscow last month, organized evacuations from four cities in the region to the Kremlin. It was announced immediately after the request to do so.

“The cities of the Kherson region, Kherson and Nova Kakhovka, Hora Pristan and Chornovaivka, are being hit daily by missiles,” Vladimir Sardo said in a video posted online Thursday. “These missile attacks inflict severe damage on civilians first and foremost. Among the targets hit by the missiles are hotels, homes, markets and other places with large numbers of civilians.”

Sardo said the decision was taken to evacuate Kherson residents to Rostov, Krasnodar, the Russian regions of Stavropol and the annexed Crimea.

“We would like to ask for your help in organizing this process. Of course, we residents of the Kherson region know that Russia will not abandon our country, and Russia will always reach out,” Sardo said. Told.

His plea comes as Ukrainian forces push their counterattack deep into the South Kherson region, but the pace slows.

The move comes at a time when Ukrainian forces continue to make gains in the south. The Ukrainian army is reporting steady territorial gains along the Southern Front, including the recapture of 75 settlements in the Kherson region last month, the Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories said late Thursday night.

In the east, the Ukrainian army recaptured 502 settlements in the Kharkiv region, 43 in the Donetsk region and 7 in the Luhansk region, according to the ministry.

Sardo’s deputy, Kirill Stremsov, in his own statement downplayed the announcement, saying that “no one is withdrawing … no one is planning to leave the territory of the Kherson region”. tried to

Earlier on Thursday, the British military said on Twitter that “Russian occupation authorities have likely ordered preparations for the evacuation of civilians from Kherson.”

“They likely expect the fighting to reach the city of Kherson itself,” said the UK Ministry of Defense.

Early Friday morning, Russia continued targeted attacks on critical infrastructure across Ukraine. The strategy was said to have kicked off on Monday with large-scale, coordinated attacks against nearly every region of the country in retaliation for the Moscow-funded bridge explosion. It connects Crimea with mainland Russia.

Multiple Russian missile strikes rocked the capital of the Zahorizja region overnight as the city remained a focal point as Ukraine pushed its counteroffensive on the southern front.

Zaporizhzhia provincial governor Oleksandr Starukh said several explosions were reported during the night at infrastructure facilities in the city, sparking fires. Preliminary reports indicate no casualties and no details regarding specific damage are available. Russian forces have continued to attack the state capital and surrounding areas over the past days and weeks, raising concerns about the safety of a nearby nuclear power plant.

The state capital is about 100 miles from a nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Two days ago, it was forced to switch back to diesel-fueled generator power to maintain the reactor cooling system after an attack on the substation’s communication lines was lost during fighting in the area.

Missile, drone and rocket attacks on Ukraine have added a sense of urgency after more frequent air raid sirens and a strike on Monday killed 19 people and injured more than 100, including much of the capital Kyiv. It raised the bar and kept the country in a state of tension.