Russia orders evacuation in Kherson amid Ukrainian advances
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information on the evacuation efforts
Russian authorities on Friday said they would help civilians evacuate the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine, as Ukrainian troops continue to make gains in the area just north of Crimea.
The Ukrainian military has had repeated successes in the south of the country and previously said that it hopes to retake Kherson, one of the provinces annexed by Russia last month, by the end of the year.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin announced a military-aided evacuation from Kherson, which has been occupied by Russia since early March, after Vladimir Saldo, the Russian leader of the Kherson region, called on the Kremlin to aid in protecting residents from the strife between the Ukrainian and Russian troops.
“We suggested that all residents of the Kherson region, if there is such a wish, to protect themselves from the consequences of missile strikes, should go to other regions” of Russia, Saldo said, according to CNN.
A Russian proxy leader in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, contested Saldo’s characterization of the events, saying: “There is no evacuation in the Kherson region and there cannot be any.”
“We urge the residents of the Kherson region to remain calm and to not panic,” he said.
“Nobody is going to withdraw Russian troops from the Kherson region. This is not an evacuation, this is an opportunity to save lives.”
Updated at 1:00 p.m.