In the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, which Russia claims to have annexed, Moscow-installed officials have urged residents to leave in order to escape an anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive. They claim around 25,000 people have already left Kherson city to the left bank of the Dnipro River.
Ukraine has denounced the removal of residents from Kherson, describing them as "deportations".
"The residents are told to take documents, money, valuables and clothes due to the tense situation on the front", said Euronews correspondent Sasha Vakulina.
"Russian authorities also likely cut the internet access in Kherson city on 22 October to limit local reporting of Russian evacuations...while preparing to conduct delaying actions that will likely be only partially effective".
Kherson, the region's main city, was the first to fall to Moscow's troops during the early days of Russia's invasion. Retaking it would be a major prize for Kyiv.
Authorities in the Kherson region said on Monday that Russian forces were "looting" the city of Kherson -- including valuable equipment from hospitals.
"The occupiers are taking equipment from hospitals, state enterprises, and private enterprises", one official claimed.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said Russian forces bolstering their defences in the city whilst at the same time evacuating officials and urging civilians to leave.
“In many aspects, it’s an information operation and a manipulation,” Budanov said.
“At the same time, they are bringing in new military units and preparing the streets of the city for defense,” he added.
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