In the face of a looming counteroffensive by the Ukrainian military that was intended to retake the southern city, the Russian-installed authorities in the captured city of Kherson encouraged citizens to evacuate right away on Saturday.
All citizens “must immediately leave the city due to the difficult situation at the front, the increased danger of major bombardment of the city, and the potential of terrorist acts,” according to a statement posted on the Russian government’s Telegram channel on Saturday.
Russian authorities issued a statement urging citizens to take boats across the Dnieper River and requesting that all departments and ministries of the Kremlin-installed government quit the southern city, which has been under Russian control since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February.
On Friday, Ukrainian forces advanced toward a full assault on the sole provincial capital that has remained in Russian control throughout the war by shelling Russian positions and focusing on supply routes throughout the province.
Following allegations that Russian forces had buried explosives within the sizable Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River, which maintains a sizable reservoir, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued the order.
He claimed Moscow was preparing to blow up the dam in a late-night television address, and it “would be a large-scale disaster.”
Russia claims that Kiev launched rockets at the dam. Neither side offered proof to support its claims.
According to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a deputy director of the Ukrainian president’s office, Zelenskyy made his remarks before more than 1 million people lost power on Saturday after a series of Russian attacks hit vital infrastructure in many cities across the country.
Oleksii Arestovych, a presidential advisor for Ukraine, said on Twitter that Russian missiles had targeted communication networks in the capital, causing power outages in areas near Kyiv. Five, he claimed, had been shot down by his nation’s military.
Odesa, a city in the south, has also suffered damage to its infrastructure, he claimed.
Although officials in the western cities of Lviv, Khmelnytskiy, Volyn, and Rivne also reported attacks, NBC News was unable to independently verify these allegations.
The governor of Rivne, Vitaly Koval, stated on his Telegram channel that “there is no power supply as a result of the strikes” and added that electrical substations had been harmed. He claimed that no one was hurt during the strikes.
Ihor Polishchuk, the mayor of Lutsk, reiterated his remarks when he said on his Facebook page that several areas of the city were without electricity.
According to the Iranian state-run news agency, IRNA, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it rejected a request by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom for the UN to look into claims that Russia attacked Ukraine with drones built in Iran.
Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, declared that the so-called E-3 group of nations’ petition on Friday was “false and unjustified,” and that it was “strongly rejected and condemned.”
The three European nations endorsed Ukraine’s Monday request for a U.N. probe in a letter signed by their U.N. envoys, asserting that the use of Shahed-136 attack drones, also known as kamikaze drones, violated the conditions of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The White House announced on Thursday that it has proof that Iran had sent military personnel to Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine to assist Moscow in carrying out drone strikes against targets all around the nation.
In order for Russian forces to deploy Iranian-made drones “with better lethality,” Iran offered training and technical assistance, according to John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.
He continued, “We believe Iranian military troops were in Crimea and helped Russia in these activities.