Russia extends evacuation zone in Ukraine’s Kherson region

Nov 1 (Reuters) – Russian-based officials in Ukraine’s Kherson region said on Monday they would begin evacuating citizens from the east bank of the Dnieper River, rejecting claims by Kyiv that Ukraine may be preparing to attack the Kakhovka dam and flood the area. to be .

In a Telegram post, Vladimir Saldo, head of the Russian-backed region, part of which is occupied by Russian forces, said he was expanding the evacuation zone in the area and – for the first time – asked civilians east of the Dnipro River. . Banks leave their homes.

Saldo said the new region covers an additional 15 kilometers (nine miles) around the Dnipro River, which bisects Kherson region, and includes seven other settlements.

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Saldo: “Given the possibility of using prohibited methods of war by the Ukrainian regime, as well as information that Kyiv is preparing a large-scale missile attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric station, there is an immediate risk of flooding in the Kherson region. said in a video message released Monday evening.

This could lead to “mass destruction of civilian infrastructure and humanitarian disaster,” he said.

“Given the circumstances, I decided to extend the evacuation zone 15 kilometers from the Dnipro… This decision makes it possible to create a layered defense to repel Ukrainian attacks and protect civilians.”

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Kiev has scrapped plans to attack the Kakhovka Dam, a 30-meter (100-foot) 3.2-kilometer-long facility, releasing a reservoir the size of the Great Salt Lake in southern Ukraine, flooding towns and villages. Russian forces took over at the beginning of the war.

Ukraine said Russia’s repeated claims that Ukraine was preparing an attack on the dam that regulates water supplies to the Crimean peninsula and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are a sign that Russia itself is planning an attack, which it blamed on Kyiv and drop his western supporters. .

Russia has evacuated tens of thousands of civilians from the west bank of the Dnieper River in recent weeks as it mounts a counteroffensive against Ukraine.

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Saldo said Russian-based authorities are offering civilians a one-time payment of 100,000 rubles ($1,628) to leave, and Moscow is providing housing in other Russian regions.

Last week, some Russian-backed administrators in the region ruled out the evacuation of citizens from the east bank of the Dnipro River.

Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Kherson last month after holding referendums in four Ukrainian regions that Kyiv and the West dismissed as fake and illegal.

(1 dollar = 61.43 rubles)

Reporting by Jake Cordell; Edited by Kim Coghill, Steven Coates and Ian Harvey

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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