Russia expands relocation from Kherson
Russian authorities have expanded the relocation of civilians from frontline areas in Kherson Region to include a 15-kilometer (9.3 mile) zone on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, acting regional governor, Vladimir Saldo, announced on Monday.
People will be relocated to parts of Kherson away from the frontline or moved to other Russian regions.
Saldo explained that the urgent measure will help shield civilians from Kiev’s “banned methods of war” and the risk that Ukrainian troops may fire missiles at a dam at the Kakhovka hydropower plant that is upstream from Kherson, causing a flood. He added that the move will also help to better defend the area from a Ukrainian offensive from the north.
“The Russian army should carry out its task without creating a threat to the civilian population. Our absolute priority is the safety of the people,” Saldo said.
The region to the north of Crimea, together with three other former Ukrainian territories, joined Russia after a referendum in late September.
Authorities began relocating civilians last month and urged able-bodied men to enlist in the local territorial defense force as Ukrainian troops advanced. Saldo told the Soloviev Live podcast on Tuesday that they had shot down 18 missiles that were launched at Kherson, while work is underway to reinforce defenses on the ground.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier accused Russia of rigging the Kakhovka dam and the plant’s machinery with explosives. Kirill Stremousov, a senior Kherson official, rejected Zelensky’s claims at the time as “lies.”