Oct 22, 2022 - World

Russia orders immediate evacuation from occupied Kherson

A view of the village, located in the border of the Kherson region where the control was again taken by the Ukrainian forces.

A view of the village located in the border of the Kherson region. Photo: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russian authorities ordered residents of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson to leave “immediately” Saturday ahead of a potential Ukrainian advance to reclaim the area, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Kherson has been occupied by Russia since the early days of its invasion of Ukraine in February and is a part of a region that was annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.

Driving the news: The pro-Russia administration in the city called on civilians to use boat crossings to head deeper into Russian territory, warning there could be a threat of shelling and terror attacks in Kherson, AP reports.

  • Ukrainian officials, though, have told citizens to resist any attempts for relocation, saying Russia might use them as human shields in the conflict.

State of play: Putin declared martial law Wednesday in the four regions annexed by Russia earlier this month, including Kherson, per the New York Times.

The big picture: Ukrainian forces launched a major counter-offensive to take back Kherson in August, Axios' Dave Lawler writes.

  • Ukrainian officials hint at the offensive in Kherson back in the summer months. Russia reportedly doubled its force in the region to prepare, according to Poland-based firm Rochan Consulting.
  • Russia has since been suffering setbacks against Ukraine's counter-offensive.

Go deeper: Russian commander says Kherson situation "difficult" as Ukraine advances

Go deeper