In a suspicious move, Pro-Russian authorities have begun urging residents in the southern Kherson region, which Moscow claims to have annexed, to leave the main city ‘immediately’ in the face of Kyiv’s advancing counter-offensive which could be devastating.
This is coming barely 24 hours after President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that Russia had launched 36 rockets overnight in a ‘massive attack’ on Ukraine, the heels of reported strikes on energy infrastructure that resulted in power outages across the country.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has now become the latest world leader to berate Moscow for its talk of resorting to nuclear weapons.
Kyiv’s forces have been advancing along the west bank of the Dnipro river, towards the Kherson region’s eponymous main city.
Kherson was the first major city to fall to Moscow’s troops, and retaking it would be a major prize in Ukraine’s counter-offensive.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that in recent days, Russia has been moving residents in the region — which Moscow claims to have annexed in September — east to Russia, in efforts Kyiv has denounced as “deportations”.
‘Due to the tense situation on the front, the increased danger of mass shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left bank’ of the Dnipro river, the region’s pro-Russian authorities announced on social media.
A Moscow-installed official in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, told Russian news agency Interfax on Saturday that around 25,000 people had made the crossing.
Sergiy Khlan, the Ukrainian deputy head of the Kherson region, said Russians were removing property and documents from banks and the passport office as they withdrew.
Ukraine’s general staff said Moscow’s forces had abandoned two more settlements in Kherson and were evacuating medical personnel from a third, accusing them of looting local civilians.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that earlier Saturday, Japan’s Kishida denounced Moscow’s comments regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict.
‘Russia’s act of threatening the use of nuclear weapons is a serious threat to the peace and security of the international community and absolutely unacceptable,’ he said.
The 77-year period of no nuclear weapons use “must not be ended”, said Kishida, speaking in Australia.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Putin has made several thinly veiled threats about his willingness to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.