Ukraine: the ongoing evacuation of civil

In the picture the river Dnipro that crosses the territory of Kherson occupied by the Russian troops. In the picture the river Dnipro that crosses the territory of Kherson occupied by the Russian troops. David Gor via Unsplash

5 november 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin orders the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson and continues to encourage the evacuation of civilians. 

On November 4, Russian Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson. The withdrawal had been suggested several times, but, given the centrality of the area, it had always been postponed. 

Kherson is strategic from a military perspective, since the main road connecting southern Ukraine to Crimea passes through the city. It was where water supplies cut by Kiev after the 2014 annexation came from, too. Furthermore, the control of the city allows Russians to reach the main Ukrainian port of Odessa. Symbolically, Kherson was the first conquest since the beginning of the war. After the occupation on March 2nd, President Putin had chosen it to hold the referendum for the Russian annexation .

Even before the announcement of the withdrawal of Russian troops, the Russian President had been encouraging civilians in the area to flee their homes for several weeks. The evacuation of civilians involved moving from the west side of the river Dnipro – the war front – to the east. 

To date, approximately 115,000 people have decided to leave the occupied territory. After an initial encouragement, President Putin’s call for the evacuation of civilians was forced. The evacuation of Ukrainian civilians has intensified in recent days, extending to all areas less than 15 km from the west bank of the Dnipro River. 

The Ukrainian authorities accuse Russia of carrying out 'mass deportations' of Ukrainian civilians, forced to flee their homes. Furthermore, Ukraine stresses that the Russian army is continuing to put civilians in danger by destroying power plants despite the cold winter just around the corner. The Russian front, on the other hand, motivates the choice by accusing Ukraine of organizing a counter-offensive that would put its own civilians at risk.\

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by Federica Tognolli

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