RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE

Russian authorities advise civilians to leave Ukraine region

Oct 22, 2022, 11:00 AM | Updated: Nov 7, 2022, 3:42 pm
A missile crater pierces a football pitch near a spectator stand that has also been struck by a mis...
A missile crater pierces a football pitch near a spectator stand that has also been struck by a missile, on October 21, 2022 in Bakhmut, Donetsk oblast, Ukraine. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of preparing to blow up the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River which could lead to a "large-scale disaster" including the flooding of around 80 settlements and the regional capital Kherson. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine told all residents of the city of Kherson to leave “immediately” Saturday ahead of an expected advance by Ukrainian troops waging a counteroffensive to recapture one of the first urban areas Russia took after invading the country.

In a post on the Telegram messaging service, the pro-Kremlin regional administration strongly urged civilians to use boat crossings over a major river to move deeper into Russian-held territory, citing a tense situation on the front and the threat of shelling and alleged plans for “terror attacks” by Kyiv.

Kherson has been in Russian hands since the early days of the nearly 8-month-long war in Ukraine. The city is the capital of a region of the same name, one of four that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month and put under Russian martial law on Thursday.

On Friday, Ukrainian forces bombarded Russian positions across the province, targeting pro-Kremlin forces’ resupply routes across the Dnieper River and preparing for a final push to reclaim the city. Ukraine has retaken some villages in the region’s north since launching its counteroffensive in late August.

Russian-installed officials were reported as trying desperately to turn Kherson city — a prime objective for both sides because of its key industries and ports — into a fortress while attempting to relocate tens of thousands of residents.

The Kremlin poured as many as 2,000 draftees into the surrounding region to replenish losses and strengthen front-line units, according to the Ukrainian army’s general staff.

The wide Dnieper River figures as a major factor in the fighting, making it hard for Russia to supply its troops defending the city of Kherson and nearby areas on the west bank after relentless Ukrainian strikes rendered the main crossings unusable.

Taking control of Kherson has allowed Russia to resume fresh water supplies from the Dnieper to Crimea, which were cut by Ukraine after Moscow’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. A big hydroelectric power plant upstream from Kherson city is a key source of energy for the southern region. Ukraine and Russia accused each other of trying to blow it up to flood the mostly flat region.

Kherson’s Kremlin-backed authorities previously announced plans to evacuate all Russia-appointed officials and as many as 60,000 civilians across the river, in what local leader Vladimir Saldo said would be an “organized, gradual displacement.”

Another Russia-installed official estimated Saturday that around 25,000 people from across the region had made their way over the Dnieper. In a Telegram post, Kirill Stremousov claimed that civilians were relocating willingly.

“People are actively moving because today the priority is life. We do not drag anyone anywhere,” he said, adding that some residents could be waiting for the Ukrainian army to reclaim the city.

Ukrainian and Western officials have expressed concern about potential forced transfers of residents to Russia or Russian-occupied territory.

Ukrainian officials urged Kherson residents to resist attempts to relocate them, with one local official alleging that Moscow wanted to take civilians hostage and use them as human shields.

Elsewhere in the invaded country, hundreds of thousands of people in central and western Ukraine woke up on Saturday to power outages and periodic bursts of gunfire. In its latest war tactic, Russia has intensified strikes on power stations, water supply systems and other key infrastructure across the country.

Ukraine’s air force said in a statement Saturday that Russia had launched “a massive missile attack” targeting “critical infrastructure,” adding that it had downed 18 out of 33 cruise missiles launched from the air and sea.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later said that Russian launched 36 missiles, most of which were shot down.

“Those treacherous blows on critically important facilities are characteristic tactics of terrorists,” Zelenskyy said. “The world can and must stop this terror.”

Air raid sirens blared across Ukraine twice by early afternoon, sending residents scurrying into shelters as Ukrainian air defense tried to shoot down explosive drones and incoming missiles.

“Several rockets” targeting Ukraine’s capital were shot down Saturday morning, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging service.

The president’s office said in its morning update that five suicide drones were downed in the central Cherkasy region southeast of Kyiv. Similar reports came from the governors of six western and central provinces, as well as of the southern Odesa region on the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s top diplomat said the day’s attacks proved Ukraine needed new Western-reinforced air defense systems “without a minute of delay.”

“Air defense saves lives,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said on Telegram that almost 1.4 million households lost power as a result of the strikes. He said some 672,000 homes in the western Khmelnytskyi region were affected and another 242,000 suffered outages in the Cherkasy region.

Most of the western city of Khmelnytskyi, which straddles the Bug River and had a pre-war population of 275,000, was left with no electricity, shortly after local media reported several loud explosions.

In a social media post on Saturday, the city council urged local residents to store water “in case it’s also gone within an hour.”

The mayor of Lutsk, a city of 215,000 in far western Ukraine, made a similar appeal, saying that power in the city was partially knocked out after Russian missiles slammed into local energy facilities and damaged one power plant beyond repair.

The central city of Uman, a key pilgrimage center for Hasidic Jews with about 100,000 residents before the war, also was plunged into darkness after a rocket hit a nearby power plant.

Ukraine’s state energy company, Ukrenergo, responded to the strikes by announcing that rolling blackouts would be imposed in Kyiv and 10 Ukrainian regions to stabilize the situation.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, the company accused Russia of attacking “energy facilities within the principal networks of the western regions of Ukraine.” It claimed the scale of destruction was comparable to the fallout earlier this month from Moscow’s first coordinated attack on the Ukrainian energy grid.

Both Ukrenergo and officials in Kyiv have urged Ukrainians to conserve energy. Earlier this week, Zelenskyy called on consumers to curb their power use between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and to avoid using energy-guzzling appliances such as electric heaters.

Zelenskyy said earlier in the week that 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed since Russia launched the first wave of targeted infrastructure strikes on Oct. 10.

In a separate development, Russian officials said two people were killed and 12 others were wounded by Ukrainian shelling of the town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region near the border.

___

Kozlowska reported from London.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Russia invades Ukraine

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tours a neighborhood in Kharkiv ...
Hanna Arhirova, Associated Press

Russian attacks on Ukraine reported; tank training to start

Ukrainian officials say Russia has launched a new wave of missile and self-exploding drone attacks on the country.
3 days ago
U.S. M1/A1 Abrams tanks...
TARA COPP and LOLITA BALDOR Associated Press

Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

For months, U.S. officials balked at sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, insisting they were too complicated and too hard to maintain and repair.
4 days ago
Associated Press video journalist Mstyslav Chernov, the director/producer/cinematographer of "20 Da...
Lindsey Bahr, Film Writer

Sundance: Horrors of war illuminated in ’20 Days in Mariupol’ doc

Associated Press video journalist Mstyslav Chernov had just broken out of Mariupol after covering the first 20 days of the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian city and was feeling guilty about leaving. He and his colleagues were the last journalists there.
6 days ago
Emergency service personnel attend to the site of a blast on October 10, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Thi...
Lolita C. Baldor

Ex-SEAL dies in Ukraine; 6th known American killed in war

A former U.S. Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 was killed this week in Ukraine, American officials said Friday.
8 days ago
Firemen roll up hoses in front of debris as emergency service workers respond at the site of a heli...
Malak Harb

Ukraine interior minister, others killed in helicopter crash

Authorities say Ukraine’s interior minister has died in a helicopter crash near the capital that killed more than a dozen other people, including children.
11 days ago
DNIPRO, UKRAINE - JANUARY 15: Emergency workers search the remains of a residential building that w...
Vasilisa Stepanenko and Andrew Meldrum

Ukraine building suffers deadliest civilian attack in months

The death toll from a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro has risen to 30, according to the national emergencies service.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Russian authorities advise civilians to leave Ukraine region