Ukraine to begin voluntary evacuation from Kherson: Deputy PM

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Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the elderly and those affected by Russian shelling would be evacuated first.

Ukraine will begin to evacuate people who want to leave the recently liberated southern city of Kherson and its surrounding areas, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has announced, citing damage to infrastructure by Russian forces that had made life extremely difficult for residents.

News of the evacuation came as Russian missiles were reported to have struck an oil depot in Kherson on Saturday evening, officials said, the first time a fuel storage facility had been hit in the city since Russia withdrew more than a week ago.

Vereshchuk said on Saturday that a number of people had expressed a wish to move away from Kherson and the area around Mykolaiv, about 65 km (40 miles) to the northwest.

“This is possible in the next few days,” she told a televised news conference in Mykolaiv when asked when the evacuations from Kherson would begin.

Vereshchuck said the government had already made the necessary preparations for the evacuation. Among those who wanted to leave were the elderly and those who had been affected by Russian shelling, she said.

“This is only a voluntary evacuation. Currently, we are not talking about forced evacuation,” Vereshchuk said.

“But even in the case of voluntary evacuation, the state bears responsibility for transportation. People must be taken to the place where they will spend the winter,” she said.

Agencies

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