- by theguardian
- 24 Mar 2023
Moscow has announced it will evacuate Kherson after an appeal from the Russian-installed head of the region, raising fears the occupied city at the heart of the south Ukrainian oblast will become a new frontline.
Marat Khusnullin, a Russian deputy prime minister, told state television on Thursday that residents would be helped to move away from the region in south Ukraine, which remains only partly occupied by invading troops due to a successful Ukrainian counterattack in recent months.
The development followed a public request on the social media platform Telegram by Vladimir Saldo, a former mayor of the port city, who was installed in April by the Russian forces as head of the wider Kherson region.
Saldo, who Ukrainian prosecutors have charged with treason, had specifically called on Vladimir Putin to help those who wished to flee the fighting, claiming it was Ukrainian attacks imperilling the lives of locals.
British intelligence said that after retreating about 12 miles in the north of Kherson in early October, Russian forces were probably attempting to consolidate a new frontline west of the village of Mylove which lies further north-east up the Dnieper River from Kherson city.
Overnight, the city of Mykolaiv, 60 miles north-west of Kherson city, was once again pummelled by Russian missiles, with one strike on a five-storey apartment block killing a 31-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman. Five further people were said to still be under rubble.
The Mykolaiv regional governor, Vitaliy Kim, said an 11-year-old boy was pulled from the rubble after six hours and rescue teams were searching for seven more people.
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