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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in the southern Kherson region as they push back against Russian forces in Kherson Oblast, Ukraine, on October 7. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The head of the Russian-backed administration in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson has appealed to the Kremlin to organize an evacuation of civilians in the face of a Ukrainian offensive.

“Every day, the cities of the Kherson region are subjected to missile strikes: Kherson and Novaya Kakhovka, Golaya Pristan and Chernobaevka. These missile strikes cause serious damage, first of all, to the local residents. Because the targets hit by the missiles are hotels, residential buildings, markets, where there are many civilians,” said Vladimir Saldo, head of one of four regions annexed by Russia last month.

As a result, the Kherson leadership “decided to organize the possibility of Kherson families traveling to other regions of the Russian Federation,” he said on his Telegram channel.

“We suggested that all residents of the Kherson region, if there is such a wish, to protect themselves from the consequences of missile strikes, should go to other regions … to take their children and leave,” he said, adding an “appeal” to the Russian leadership to “help in organizing such work. We, residents of the Kherson region, of course, know that Russia does not abandon its own people.”

However, Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of Kherson region military administration, said, “There is no evacuation in the Kherson region and there cannot be any.”

Saldo’s request to “help organize the departure of residents of the Kherson region for temporary stay and rest in other regions of the Russian Federation is not a call for evacuation,” Stremousov said. “We urge the residents of the Kherson region to remain calm and to not panic. Nobody is going to withdraw Russian troops from the Kherson region.”

Ukrainian forces have been making gradual advances through Kherson, as well as striking critical infrastructure such as bridges and railways.

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