Russian authorities, who initially dismissed talk of evacuating Kherson, sharply changed course this week, warning that the city could come under massive Ukrainian shelling and encouraging residents to leave.

Russian occupation authorities in the Ukrainian city of Kherson told civilians they should leave immediately because of what they called the tense military situation as Ukraine's forces advance.
Russian occupation authorities in the Ukrainian city of Kherson told civilians they should leave immediately because of what they called the tense military situation as Ukraine's forces advance. (File / AP)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Russia said its forces had prevented an attempt by Ukraine to break through its line of control in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, where it is evacuating civilians in anticipation of a wider Ukrainian counter-offensive.

"All attacks were repulsed, the enemy was pushed back to their initial positions," the defence ministry said, adding that Ukraine's offensive was launched towards the settlements of Piatykhatky, Suhanove, Sablukivka and Bezvodne, on the west side of the Dnipro river.

The ministry's statement said Russian forces had also repelled attacks in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Two killed in strikes on Russian region near Ukraine border: governor

Two civilians were killed following strikes on Russia's southern Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

"There are two dead among civilians," Gladkov said on social media following shelling on "civilian infrastructure" in the town of Shebekino, where nearly 15,000 people were left without electricity.

Over a million Ukraine households without power after Russian strikes: presidency
More than a million households in Ukraine were left without electricity following Russian strikes on energy facilities across the country, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidency.

"As of now, 672,000 subscribers have been disconnected in Khmelnytskyi region, 188,400 in Mykolaiv region, 102,000 in Volyn region, 242,000 in Cherkasy region, 174,790 in Rivne region, 61,913 in Kirovograd region and 10,500 in Odessa region," Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on social media.

Iran warns West over 'provocative' claims

Tehran warned European countries against "provocative approaches", after they urged a UN probe into Iranian drones the West says Russia is using in Ukraine.

Iran has denied supplying Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine, and Moscow has accused the West of seeking to put "pressure" on Tehran with the allegations.

In a letter to the United Nations a day earlier, France, Britain and Germany called for an "impartial" investigation into the matter, after the EU and Britain slapped new sanctions on Tehran this week.

Ukrainian infrastructure pounded again

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia carried out a "massive attack" on Ukraine overnight, following reported strikes on energy infrastructure that resulted in power outages across the country.

"The aggressor continues to terrorise our country. At night, the enemy launched a massive attack: 36 rockets, most of which were shot down... These are vile strikes on critical objects. Typical tactics of terrorists," Zelenskyy said on social media.

Since October 10, Russia has launched a series of devastating salvos at Ukraine's power infrastructure, which have hit at least half of its thermal power generation and up to 40 percent of the entire system.

Ukrainians slash electricity use: Ukrenergo

Some parts of Ukraine have reduced their electricity use by up to 20 percent as authorities call on residents to save power in the wake of the Russian strikes, national energy operator Ukrenergo said.

Russians "carried out another missile attack on energy facilities of the main networks of Ukraine's western regions. The scale of the damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attack on October 10-12," Ukrenergo said on social media.

US, allies spar with Russia at UN over downed drones

The US and key Western allies have accused Russia of using Iranian drones to attack civilians and power plants in Ukraine in violation of a 2015 UN Security Council resolution and international humanitarian law.

Russia countered by accusing Ukraine of attacking infrastructure and civilians for eight years in the eastern separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which Moscow annexed earlier this year.

The US, France, Germany and Britain supported Ukraine's call for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to send a team to investigate the origin of the drones.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the drones are Russian and warned that an investigation would violate the UN Charter and seriously affect relations between Russia and the UN.

For live updates from Friday (October 21), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies