Civil servants working for the Russian-installed administration in Nova Kakhovka, the second-largest city in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, have left due to fighting, officials said on Tuesday.
The city lies on the east bank of the Dnipro river, next to the huge Kakhovka dam, which both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling. It also adjoins the mouth of the North Crimean Canal, a crucial source of fresh water to the arid Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.
“After the well-known events of Nov. 11, when Russian troops were ordered to withdraw from the right (west) bank of Kherson region, Nova Kakhovka found itself under direct fire from large-calibre artillery and mortars of the armed forces of Ukraine,” the city’s Russian-installed administration said.
It said that employees working for the city’s administration and municipal institutions had left the city and were being relocated to safe areas in the region.
Since Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson city and areas to the west of the Dnipro last week, attention has focused on Russian-controlled towns and settlements on the east bank, where Russian forces say they have taken up defensive positions.
Images published on social media on Tuesday appeared to show Russian troops had abandoned the town of Oleshky, across the Dnipro River from Kherson, suggesting that one of the war’s biggest retreats may not have ended at the water’s edge.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told world leaders there will be no let-up in Ukraine’s military campaign to drive out Russian troops after the recapture of Kherson – the only regional capital Russia had held since it invaded almost nine months ago.