Ukraine urges residents to leave southern country over counterattack plans – News

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Sunday urged civilians in the Russian-occupied southern Kherson region to evacuate the area urgently as Ukraine’s armed forces prepare a counterattack there.

Ukraine lost control of most of the Kherson region on the Black Sea, including its namesake capital, in the first weeks after the Russian invasion on February 24.

“It is clear that there will be fighting, there will be artillery bombardments… and therefore we urge [as pessoas] to evacuate [a área] urgently,” Vereshchuk said on national television.

She said she could not say when exactly the counteroffensive would take place.

“I know for sure that there must not be women and children there, and that they must not become human shields,” she said.

Russian-based Kherson officials say they want to hold a referendum on separation from Russia, but have yet to set a date. The Kremlin says the region’s future must be determined by its residents.

The Kherson region includes the city of Kherson, which before the war had a population of nearly 300,000. It is unknown how many townspeople are still there.

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