Russia-Ukraine updates: Moscow begins evacuation from Kherson
With tensions increasing in Ukraine, Moscow has begun an evacuation of its citizens from the port city of Kherson. With reports of militia forces occupying government buildings and artillery positions in the city, many are worried about their safety. As of now, it is not clear when or if the evacuation will be completed. However, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Moscow begins evacuation from Kherson
The Russian authorities have begun evacuating residents from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, as tensions continue to mount between the two countries. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated so far, according to local reports. The evacuation is part of a wider Russian effort to reduce its population in the area by 10 percent. It was not immediately clear why the city was chosen for evacuation. The move comes as Russia and Ukraine continue to trade accusations over what started as a minor border incident last week.
Russian troops crossed into Ukraine on Monday, allegedly in response to an attack by pro-Russian rebels on a military outpost near the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Since then, Moscow has accused Kyiv of escalating the situation with its military action, while Kyiv has accused Moscow of backing the separatists with troops and arms. Tensions are now high enough that both countries have ordered their citizens to evacuate areas near their borders.
Kyiv denies Moscow has sent troops
According to the Kyiv authorities, there have been no Russian soldiers or military equipment in Kherson since October last year. “We have not seen any Russian military presence in Kherson,” a spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Friday. “There are now just a few dozen Russian civilians and servicemen remaining there.” The evacuation began on Sunday and is expected to take four days.
On Saturday, President Petro Poroshenko ordered all Ukrainian troops stationed near the border with Russia to return to their bases. This follows reports that Moscow has sent additional troops and military hardware to the area. government buildings.
Donetsk reports shelling in central Ukraine
There have been no reports of casualties as of yet. The Ukrainian military has not commented on the shelling. The Russian Foreign Ministry has released a statement saying that Moscow is beginning the evacuation of its citizens from Kherson. This follows an earlier evacuation of residents from Odesa and Kharkiv.
Catherine Ashton urges calm
On Wednesday, February 3, 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he had ordered an evacuation of all Russian nationals from the Ukrainian city of Kherson. This comes after Russia began a military campaign in Ukraine on Monday, February 1.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Catherine Ashton urged calm in a press statement on Wednesday. “I call on all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation,” she said. “We must also remember that the people of Crimea are overwhelmingly supportive of reunification with Russia.”
Ban Ki-moon’s announcement comes just days after his predecessor, Kofi Annan, brokered a ceasefire between the two countries.
The footage shows buses carrying people away from the town as soldiers stand guard. It’s not yet clear what will happen to those who choose to stay behind.