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Russia Urges Civilians to Evacuate from Kherson amid Heavy Shelling

However, Ukraine has rejected these accusations, saying that it has never targeted civilians

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UKRAINE: The Russian-installed leader of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, has urged locals and civilians to flee and evacuate, citing daily rocket attacks by advancing Ukrainian forces in the area.

He urged them to “save themselves” by going to Russia for “leisure and study” and asked for Moscow’s help.

His calls for evacuation were backed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin in a message on state television.

Speaking on Thursday, Saldo said many towns in the region, including the two major cities of Kherson and Nova Kakhovka, were now under daily rocket attacks by Ukrainian troops.

However, Ukraine has rejected these accusations, saying that it has never targeted civilians like the Russians.

Ukrainian president Zelensky’s troops have recently reclaimed several areas of north-western Kherson, gradually progressing towards the regional capital of Kherson City.

“The government took the decision to organise assistance for the departure of residents of the [Kherson] region to other regions of the country,” said Khusnullin, who has special responsibility for southern Russia and Crimea. “We will provide everyone with free accommodation and everything necessary.”

The first group of people from Kherson are due to arrive today in Russia’s Rostov region, said its governor, Vasily Golubev, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

“The Rostov region will accept and accommodate everyone who wants to come to us from the Kherson region,” he added.

Kyiv has been using US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems and other Western-supplied weaponry to counter Moscow’s shelling. Kyiv has also targeted key Russian-held areas and threatened to cut off a critical supply of resources to red forces on the west bank of the Dnipro River (Dnieper in Russian).

Kherson is the only regional capital seized by Russian forces since Moscow’s “special military invasion” began on February 24th this year.

In other major developments in the last 24 hours, Russian troops struck Zaporizhzhia with missiles yet again. At least three S-300 missile strikes were recorded in the city.

All of Ukraine, except Crimea, was temporarily under air raid alert, and Russian missile strikes were reported on energy and military targets in the Kyiv region and Lviv in the west.

Two people were killed in shelling in the southern city of Mykolaiv, and dramatic footage showed a young boy being rescued from the rubble of a destroyed house, although he later died, officials said.

Both Kyiv and Moscow confirmed a recent prisoner swap in which 20 Ukrainian personnel were exchanged for 20 Russian soldiers.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and proposed building a gas hub in Turkey as an alternative supply route to Europe amid issues with the Nord Stream pipeline.

Earlier this month, President Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian industrial hubs—Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson—by conducting voting referendums which Kyiv and the West denounced as “sham” and “illegal”.

On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the Russian annexation attempt.

The assembly’s resolution was supported by 143 countries, while 35 states—including China and India—abstained. As well as Russia, four countries rejected the resolution: Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Nicaragua.

Meanwhile, Spain has transferred four Hawk air defence systems to Ukraine, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote on Twitter.

He noted that Spain “quickly responded” to Ukraine’s request. The Hawk system’s target range is up to 50 km, and the target altitude is up to 20 km.

The mayor’s office noted that to show solidarity and support for Kyiv, German authorities in Munich changed the name of Kiewstraße to Kyivstraße, to promote Munich as a sister-city of Kyiv, the mayor’s office noted.

Also Read: Joe Biden Doubts Putin’s Use of Nuclear Weapons in the Ukraine War

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