Russian forces are telling civilians to leave as they prepare new defensive positions on Kherson’s eastern coast
Russian forces are preparing new defensive positions on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson and are informing local civilians to evacuate the area.
Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of Kherson’s military administration, confirmed on Wednesday that the evacuation of civilians had been extended to the east bank of the river, a move Ukrainian officials described as an “expulsion”.
Stremousov said in a Telegram video that Ukrainian forces have not made progress in breaking through the defense line. But a zone of 15 kilometers (about 9 miles) on the east coast will be evacuated. “There is a specific list of settlements where the line of defense will be,” Stremousov said.
“No one is talking about a forced evacuation,” Stremousov insisted. “But we recommend that they listen to the army, because I personally see the line of defense being built directly on some people’s plots in the villages… If hostilities break out, the soldiers will be forced to evacuate them, as this can be dangerous.”
Stremousov also rarely acknowledged reports of looting and drunkenness among Russian soldiers.
“Regarding the situation that could happen in the villages: it is about looting and drunkenness that some ignorant people representing the Russian army may be doing now. You can contact me directly… I need to inform you of all the facts: drunkenness, looting, humiliation or attempted violence,” he said.
On the Ukrainian side, the regional military administration in Kherson said active hostilities were continuing. “The enemy shelled recently liberated villages of Beryslav district.” [en la orilla occidental]. Numerous damages and destruction of civil infrastructure were recorded,” he said.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army claimed that the administration of the Russian occupation of Kherson was transferred to the city of Skadovsk, much closer to Crimea and closer to the Black Sea.
Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were “preparing the territory of the Nova Kakhovka community for defensive battles.” In this regard, trenches are dug along the “East Coast” for a length of about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles).
The regional military administration also stated that the occupying forces “continue to abduct residents of the Kherson region,” especially in Nova Kahovka.
The displaced mayor of the east coast community – Eugene Ryshchuk, mayor of Oleshky – said it was becoming a “bridgehead for hostilities”.
“We were made to choose: hard life in evacuation or death in our homes,” he said.
He called on the population to do everything possible to survive and assured that “if they take you to Russia by force, remember that the state of Ukraine will not abandon its people.”
Ukrainian authorities have often accused Russian forces of widespread and organized looting across Kherson, most recently claiming that much of the stolen goods were taken to the city of Skadovsk.
This Wednesday, Yaroslav Yanushevych, the head of the administration of the Jershon region, said that Russian forces were looting “the largest company of light industry”, a company that produces uniforms.
Januševič said that “tenants take out sewing machines, cutting tables, embroidery machines, office and computer equipment and other equipment in trucks”.
CNN was unable to verify this claim.