Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that civilians should be taken out of Moscow-occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine, from where Russian forces have been leading evacuations since mid-October as Kyiv’s forces advance.
“Those who live in Kherson should be removed from zones of dangerous fighting,” Putin told young volunteers from the occupied Ukrainian territories on Red Square as Moscow celebrated Unity Day.
“The civilian population should not suffer from shelling, an offensive, a counter-offensive or other such things,” the Russian leader said.
Moscow’s occupation authorities in Kherson have said they have helped tens of thousands leave the region and vowed to turn the city of Kherson into a “fortress.”
Kyiv has likened Moscow’s efforts to remove the civilian population in Kherson as Soviet-like “deportations” of its people.
Putin spoke to the group of Kherson volunteers, who said they are helping people leave the areas, after laying flowers at a monument in honor of those fending off a Polish invasion in 1612.