Russia on Friday ordered the evacuation of families with children and the elderly from Russian-held border areas in southern Ukraine due to an increase in shelling from the Ukrainian side.
“In the past few days, the enemy has intensified shelling of settlements close to the front line,” Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russian-installed head of the Zaporizhzhya region, wrote on social media.
“That’s why I have decided to first evacuate children and parents, the elderly, people with disabilities and hospital patients,” he wrote.
There will be a “temporary evacuation from 18 locations”, he said, including the city of Energodar, where the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is located.
The plant – Europe’s largest – has been held by Russia since the first day of the conflict and is now near the front line, causing international concern.
Ukraine has been preparing an offensive against Russian forces for months and some analysts say sabotage attacks and long-range attacks behind the Russian border in recent days show it is now imminent.
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