Russia extends evacuation zone in Ukraine’s Kherson region

Nov 1 (Reuters) – The evacuation of citizens from the east bank of the Dnipro River will begin on Monday, Russian-based officials in Ukraine’s Kherson region said, reiterating claims by Kiev that Ukraine was preparing to attack the Kakhovka dam and flood the area. .

In a post on Telegram, Vladimir Zaldo, the Russian-backed head of the region partially occupied by Russian forces, said he was expanding an evacuation zone in the region and – for the first time – called on civilians in the region east of the Dnipro River. Bank to leave their homes.

The new area covers an additional 15-kilometer (nine-mile) zone around the Dnipro River, which bisects the Kherson region, and will include seven other settlements, Saldo said.

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“Due to the possibility of the Ukrainian regime using prohibited methods of warfare and information that Kyiv is launching a massive missile attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, there is an urgent risk of flooding the Kherson region,” Saldo said in a video message posted Monday evening.

That would cause “massive destruction of civilian infrastructure and humanitarian disaster,” he said.

“Given the situation, I decided to expand the evacuation zone to 15 kilometers from Dnipro … the decision will make it possible to create a layer of defense to resist Ukrainian attacks and protect civilians.”

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Kyiv has denied plans to attack the 30-meter (100-foot) high and 3.2-kilometer-long Kakhovka dam, unleashing a reservoir the size of the Great Salt Lake across southern Ukraine and flooding towns and villages. At the beginning of the war, Russian troops were captured.

Ukraine has repeated Russian claims that Ukraine is preparing to attack a dam that controls water supplies to the Crimean peninsula and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which it says is a sign that Russia itself is considering an attack. .

As part of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russia has been evacuating tens of thousands of civilians from the western banks of the Dnipro River in recent weeks.

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Russian-installed officials are offering one-off payments of 100,000 rubles ($1,628) to civilians, and Moscow is providing housing in other regions of Russia, Saldo said.

For the past week, some Russian-backed rulers in the region have refused to evacuate citizens from the eastern banks of the Dnipro River.

President Vladimir Putin moved to annex Kherson last month after holding referendums in four Ukrainian regions that Kyiv and the West accused of being fake and illegitimate.

($1 = 61.43 rubles)

Reporting by Jake Cordell; Editing by Kim Coghill, Stephen Coates and Jan Harvey

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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