December 7, 2022

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Vladimir Putin calls for the evacuation of civilians from Kherson

Vladimir Putin calls for the evacuation of civilians from Kherson

President Vladimir Putin has called for the evacuation of civilians from the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, his first acknowledgment that Ukraine’s bid to retake the city is progressing.

“People living in Kherson must be removed from the most dangerous area [combat] Putin told a group of volunteers in Red Square on Friday.

Putin has never publicly called for the evacuation of civilians, even though his subordinates have been urging it for weeks. Ukraine launched a fierce counterattack to retake Kherson, the only regional capital that Russia managed to capture nine months ago. Invasion of Ukraine.

The battlefield setbacks have coincided with renewed efforts to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, just as winter approaches. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Putin of resorting to “energy terrorism”, saying that 4.5 million people were powerless across the country.

The blackout came as a result of massive Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s power facilities in recent weeks, which have plunged much of Kyiv and the rest of the country into night darkness. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Friday that 450,000 residents of the capital were without electricity.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu admitted this week that his country’s armed forces were targeting critical infrastructure in an attempt to “neutralize military infrastructure facilities, as well as facilities that affect the limitation of Ukraine’s military capacity.”

Also on Friday, the Pentagon announced a $400 million military aid package for Ukraine, to deliver Hawk air defense systems and Phoenix Ghost tactical aircraft as well as refurbishment of advanced tanks to be sent from the Czech Republic.

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The provision of the Hawk system, which the United States replaced with the Patriot system in the mid-1990s, is an upgrade from the Stinger surface-to-air missiles offered thus far, because the Hawk systems have a longer range.

Meeting in the German city of Münster on Friday, G7 foreign ministers said they had created a “G7 coordination mechanism” to help Ukraine “repair, restore and defend critical energy and water infrastructure.”

Annalena Barbock, the German foreign minister who hosted the meeting, said the G7 was preparing a “winter package” for Ukraine. “[We’re] “The delivery of generators, mobile homes, water pumps and sanitary facilities,” she told reporters after the meeting.

It is also the first time that the United States has funded sending tanks to Ukraine since the war began. The United States is funding the refurbishment of 45 tanks owned by the Czech Republic, which the Netherlands is matching to re-equip another 45 tanks.

In Kherson, Russia continued to lose territory to larger and more well-equipped Ukrainian forces, despite the annexation of the surrounding province and three other regions in southeastern Ukraine in September.

Putin declared martial law in the four regions last month, giving officials additional powers, including the ability to forcibly evacuate citizens. Russia-appointed officials have repeatedly called on local residents to leave Kherson Province west of the Dnipro River in recent weeks.

In a video posted after Putin’s comments, Kirill Strimosov, Russia’s appointed deputy governor of the region, said a 24-hour curfew had been imposed “to defend the city”. This would “give the army the opportunity to do its job without civilians.”

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Shortly thereafter, he deleted the video clip and posted another video in which he asserted that Kherson was under full Russian control.

The impact of Russia’s increasingly frequent attacks is evident in Kyiv. Soon, the craters from the missiles were filled in and the shattered windows installed. But after sunset, the city descends into an eerie blackness.

Street lights and work signs remain off, candles flicker in windows and people navigate the streets with lamps, only their faces lit by smartphone screens.

The power outages also affected businesses, some of which were forced to close during the power outages. A large supermarket had to cancel orders when the power went out and was unable to process payments.

Sporting goods and electronic stores, however, are inundated with customers. More people came “after every drone and missile attack,” said Ole Mryshko, manager of the Gorgany sporting goods store in Kyiv.

“They come to buy these,” he said, pointing to the lamps and portable cooking stoves. Customers also stocked jackets, gloves, hats, flashlights, tarpaulins, a quick-burning fire starter, fleece socks and hand warmers.

Additional reporting by Guy Chazan in Berlin and James Politi in Washington