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Kherson, Ukraine, resident describes a ghost town of exhausted people with acute shortages of medicine

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CNN

The Kherson resident said the situation in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city was tense, people were “emotionally exhausted”, the streets were empty in the afternoon and Russian soldiers were often seen in civilian clothes.

The woman was reached by CNN through a third party, and she was speaking shortly before the Russian-appointed administration in Kherson ordered civilians to leave as she sought to retake the city in the Ukrainian counterattack against Moscow’s invasion.

“Due to the tense situation on the front, the growing threat of mass bombardment of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must leave the city immediately and cross to the east bank of the Dnipro,” the administration said on Saturday. said.

Previously, authorities had recommended that people leave; Saturday’s announcement seems to go beyond that.

Speaking on Friday, the female civilian in the city of Kherson said: “Unfortunately, many residents of Kherson have had to consider leaving the city. Everyone had their own reasons, anxieties and fears. But I’m 100 percent sure no one wants to go.”

CNN does not reveal the identity of the woman for security reasons.

He said that Kherson has become a ghost town. Tens of thousands of residents have left the country since the Russian invasion began in March.

“In the evening you can see a lot of tall buildings with at most two or three windows illuminated. You can meet more people close to the bazaar during the day. But around 3-4 o’clock the streets are empty and there is no one.”

On Saturday, a Ukrainian official, Yuriy Sobolevskyi, claimed on Telegram that the “wretched scum that terrorized Kherson” had ordered all elevators in the city to be shut down.

The woman said she was not thinking of leaving. “Honestly, this question infuriates me… This is my land, Kherson is my home. From the first days of the war, we participated in the rallies against the invaders and fought with all our might. This struggle is still going on.”

The woman said she hadn’t heard of anyone being forced to leave for the past few days. Some people were still trying to reach Vasylivka in the neighboring Zaporizhia region, this is the only crossing point still open between Russian and Ukrainian lands.

It is unclear whether this situation will change following the latest instructions from the authority appointed by Russia.

The woman said that the atmosphere in the city was tense. “People are emotionally exhausted, some are not leaving their homes to avoid contact with the military. It is impossible to relax here. In the evening, when I hear the sound of a car passing near the house, I start to get nervous because arriving late at night is not a good sign.”

He stressed that most of those who remained understood that the Ukrainian army “will never harm the people and there will be no bombardment of civilians”.

The woman said that while utilities continue to operate, people are worried about adequate power and heating during the winter months. “Everyone is afraid of the coming winter.”

He said that enough basic food is available. “Kherson has often become a spontaneous market, people sell what they can. Someone bakes homemade bread, someone bakes cakes, someone sells their belongings by putting them on sheets in the middle of the street.”

But he wasn’t sure how to sustain food deliveries from the east coast as the Russians took people’s boats.

The woman said that medical supplies and baby food were insufficient and too expensive. “Everything imported at the moment is medicine from the Russian Federation. Medicines are only sold on the street by car or privately by some people.”

There were always long queues at pharmacies and things like antibiotics were scarce.

He wasn’t sure if the number of Russian soldiers in the city of Kherson was increasing or decreasing, but he had noticed a growing contingent of Chechen warriors in the city.

“I can not say that there are fewer Russian soldiers, they just took off their military uniforms and wore civilian clothes. Some are walking on the street in civilian clothes but with machine guns.”

He said he welcomed the sound of shelling.

“The inhabitants of Kherson are afraid of silence. I remember, it was quiet for a few days in the summer, and to everyone that Ukraine seemed to have forgotten about us.

“You can constantly hear how the Ukrainian Armed Forces bomb the positions of the invaders. “You can’t imagine how happy the locals are because of it,” he said.

Automatic gunshots are heard periodically in different parts of the city, but it is not known who was involved in the conflict,” he said.

Ukrainian forces are still some distance from the city of Kherson, but have made raids in other parts of the region. Russian forces appear to hold and hold their positions as they launch missile strikes against the Ukrainian advance. Local officials appointed by the Russians insist that Moscow forces intend to defend the area, while Ukrainian officials say there may currently be as many as 45 Russian battalion tactical groups on the west bank of the Dnipro.

However, Ukrainian officials say that in some parts of Kherson, such as Beryslav, the occupation authorities have stopped their activities in recent days. “Collaborators collaborating with the Russian invaders continue to leave the city with their families and goods,” the Ukrainian army said in a statement on Friday.

In the last few days, the Ukrainians crashed into a newly erected pontoon under the Antonivskyi bridge near the city of Kherson. Local officials said four people were killed.

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