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Russia has announced the evacuation of civilians from major cities in southern Ukraine as it acknowledged that the situation for Ukrainian ground forces is “tense” in the face of counterattacks.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities have rushed to rebuild damaged energy installations across the country following a series of deadly Russian strikes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones in the attack, highlighting Russia’s “military and political bankruptcy”.

Russian General Sergey Slovikin, in charge of recent operations in Ukraine, prepares to evacuate civilians from the city of Kherson, part of four regions of Ukraine that Russia has recently claimed to have annexed. said.

Kherson was the first city to fall to Russian forces after the Kremlin launched its invasion on February 24, but Ukrainian forces have come closer and closer to the city in recent weeks as part of a successful counteroffensive. .

even Sergey Slovik

General Slovikin told state television Russia 24 that Kherson’s “Russian forces will above all ensure the safe evacuation of the population”, adding that the situation was “extremely difficult” for both civilians and Russian soldiers. said.

“The enemy has not abandoned attempts to attack Russian positions,” he added.

The Kremlin-appointed head of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, announced in a telegram the “systematic transfer of civilians” from several municipalities of the region to the left bank of the Dnipro River.

Nationally ‘significant’

Ukraine warned of new “serious” risks to its power grid after repeated Russian bombings as winter approached, destroying a third of the country’s power installations, according to the president’s office. .

The Russian attack shook Kyiv’s energy installations and urban centers across Ukraine, causing power outages and disrupting water supplies. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said three people were killed in yesterday’s strike.

“The situation is now critical in the whole country. The whole country needs to be prepared for electricity, water and heating outages,” Kyril Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, told Ukrainian television. rice field.

Drones also shelled Kyiv on Monday, killing five people, officials said.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Moscow of using Iranian-made drones in its airstrikes, a move Zelensky described as a sign of Russia’s failure.

In his daily speech, Mr Zelensky said, “Russia is asking Iran for such help because it is acknowledging its military and political bankruptcy.”

backup power hospital

Many towns and cities in the Zhytomyr region of western Kyiv and parts of the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine experienced a power outage, with some hospitals operating on backup power.

The National Emergency Service said more than 70 people were killed and 290 injured as more than 1,100 towns and villages in nine regions were left without power after a 10-day strike at energy facilities.

Ukraine also accused the Red Cross of being “negligent” with Russian-held prisoners, saying the lack of visits to detained soldiers and civilians meant they were susceptible to torture. rice field.

Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant

Ukraine’s state-run Atomic Energy Agency has accused Russia of detaining two senior officials at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, and the UN nuclear watchdog has asked for help in securing their release. asked.

Russian forces yesterday claimed to have recaptured territory from Ukrainian forces in the eastern Kharkov region.

It was the first time Russia had announced an occupation of the village since it was almost completely evicted from the region last month.

Kremlin Denies Iran Using Drones

Iran said it was ready for talks with Kyiv to clarify “unsubstantiated” claims that it is providing weapons and drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Following a wave of kamikaze drone attacks on Kyiv, Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said Ukraine should cut diplomatic ties with Iran.

The Kremlin said it was unaware that the Russian military was using Iranian drones in Ukraine.

“Russian technology is being used,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, referring to other questions from the Defense Ministry.

However, the Ministry of Defense has confirmed there have been attacks on energy facilities in the past 24 hours, saying they used long-range precision weapons.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia could scale back its diplomatic presence in the West, citing relations with Europe and Washington and the need for Russia to build relationships elsewhere. criticized.

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Russia announces evacuation of civilians from Kherson –

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