Russia evacuates Kherson civilians after Ukraine counteroffensive

The commander of Russian troops in Ukraine for the withdrawal of residents of the Ukrainian city of Kherson, in the face of a counter-offensive that does not give him respite. The announcement came amid a Russian bombing campaign that, in just over a week, destroyed 30% of the former Soviet republic’s power stations, according to Kiev officials.

The bombings are part of a response to a counter-offensive that allowed Ukrainian forces to regain thousands of square kilometers in the south and east conquered by Russian troops after the February 24 invasion of the country.

General Sergei Surovikin, in command of Russian troops in Ukraine for 10 days, ordered the preparation of an operation to remove civilians from Kherson (south), the main city in the homonymous region, formally annexed by Moscow.

“The Russian army will first of all ensure the safe evacuation of the population” from Kherson, where Ukrainian bombings of civilian infrastructure “create a direct threat”, Surovikin told public channel Rossia 24. “The situation in the area of ​​the military operation special can be described as tense. The enemy does not relent in its attempts to attack the positions of Russian forces”, he described.

The Russian army had previously reported a breakthrough in eastern Kharkiv, the first since the launch of the Ukrainian counteroffensive earlier this summer.

Critical situation

“Since October 10, 30% of Ukrainian power stations have been destroyed, which has caused massive electricity cuts across the country,” tweeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Currently, 1,162 locations … are without electricity,” emergency services spokesman Oleksandr Khorunzhyi said after Russia again attacked power infrastructure this morning. In recent days, Russia has carried out about “190 bombings with missiles, suicide drones and artillery in 16 Ukrainian regions,” Khorunzhyi said. In that offensive, 70 people were killed and 240 were injured, he added.

After Tuesday’s attacks, Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his refusal to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The intention of Moscow’s troops, he denounced, is to “terrorize and kill civilians”.

The Russian army confirmed that it bombed Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Several towns in the Zhytomyr region, west of Kiev, and the city of Dnipro were without power.

“The situation is currently critical across the country, because our regions depend on each other,” said Presidential Representative Kirilo Tymoshenko. “The whole country must prepare for power, water and heating cuts,” he added.

Russian bombings in recent hours hit Kiev, Kharkiv (east), Mikolaiv (south) and the regions of Dnipro and Zhyomyr (centre). “The city has no electricity or water,” said the city’s mayor, Sergei Sukhomlin. “Hospitals run on backup power.”

Ukraine has accused the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of neglecting the fate of Ukrainian prisoners captured by the Russians, whom the international organization has not yet visited. “Unfortunately, with each exchange we find that the ICRC’s lack of action has led to our prisoners of war and civilian hostages being tortured daily through starvation and electrocution,” said Ukrainian human rights officer Dmytro Lubinets.

drones from iran

Ukraine has said Russia uses Iranian-made suicide drones in its attacks and has called for new sanctions to be imposed on Tehran. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said its troops shot down 38 Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in the past 24 hours.

According to Volodymyr Zelensky, “the fact that Russia asks Iran for help is the Kremlin’s recognition of its military and political failure.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said these accusations were “baseless” and “based on false information”.

The Russian government has indicated that it ignores whether its army is using Iranian drones in Ukraine. “Russian technology with Russian names is used,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov.

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