A Russian soldier patrols a river bank in Kherson A Russian soldier patrols a river bank in Kherson  (AFP or licensors)

Russian authorities order civilians to flee Ukraine region

Russian occupation authorities in a key Ukrainian city have ordered civilians to leave immediately as Ukraine's counter-offensive against the Russian invasion of the country intensifies. The order came as Ukrainian forces rapidly approached southern Kherson city.

By Stefan Bos 

The ongoing conflict is rapidly escalating in Ukraine's southern Kherson region, one of four regions Russia recently illegally claimed to annex from Ukraine. 

Russian occupation authorities have effectively admitted that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is more successful than Moscow acknowledged. They told civilians to leave the regional capital Kherson immediately because of the tense military situation.

Reporters established that thousands of civilians have been leaving for days across the Dnipro River after warnings of a looming Ukrainian offensive to recapture the city. 

Ukraine's military has been steadily taking back territory in the region, a key target in its counter-offensive against Russian forces. “They are giving up on the Kherson region," an identified Ukrainian soldier said. "They move away their heavy equipment. You can hear it."

However, with Russia losing territory rapidly, 

Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to the Ukrainian president, accused Moscow of trying to "provoke new refugees" to flee to Europe. 

He suggested that as Russia is facing losses on the battlefields, it is now targeting "critical infrastructure" in Ukraine. 

Many struggling

Many areas are without power and even running drinking water following massive Russian attacks involving explosives-laden suicide drones and missiles, killing and injuring at least scores of people across the wartorn nation. 

Buildings in the capital Kyiv and other cities have been set ablaze, sending people scurrying for cover or trying to shoot them down in what Ukraine says is an attempt to terrorize civilians.

At least an estimated 1.5 million people reportedly lack electricity after further Russian strikes against power stations on Saturday. 

Recently, almost a third of the country's power stations have been destroyed in a wave of air strikes.

Sites south and west of the capital Kyiv have been struck, increasing human suffering ahead of winter. 

Moscow has denied deliberately targeting civilian sites, despite witnesses and video footage telling a different story in a war that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report
22 October 2022, 16:52