The front-line city of Kherson will be under tight curfew and people will be banned from moving about on city streets for 58 hours, a government official said on Wednesday.
The lockdown will be in effect from 8 p.m. May 5 to 6 a.m. May 8, and during the ban security forces will stop any unsanctioned movement, by anyone, into or out of the Dnipro River port city, said Oleksandr Prokudin, Kherson region governor, in a video made public on Telegram.
Residents should “take necessary steps…and obtain sufficient food supplies and medicines” to stay inside for the 58-hour lockdown, he said. “I ask all citizens to stay at home to the maximum extent possible... I ask for your (Kherson residents’) understanding.”
Leaving one’s home to “get fresh air next to your building” or to go to a local store would be allowed, provided the citizen carries identification documents with them, Prokudin said.
Police, public health facilities and social support services would “work normally”, and people needing to access those services will be allowed to do so by pre-appointment, he said.
Russian forces control the shoreline on the left bank of the Dnipro River and fire rockets, missiles and artillery into Kherson, and towns and villages on the Ukraine-controlled right bank almost daily.
While the ban is in effect Ukrainian police and security forces will focus on hunting down pro-Russia saboteurs, spies, and “traitors and inhuman people” possibly present in Kherson, Prokudin said.
A Russian missile strike hit Kherson’s single Epicentr construction materials super-store on Wednesday, killing three and injuring five people, an Interior Ministry statement said. An UNIAN news agency report said the strike took place at “around 11 a.m.”
Prokudin’s curfew announcement video was reported by Ukrainian news platforms some 15-20 minutes before the Epicentr store was reportedly hit.
“It is impossible to negotiate with Russian murderers. They must be forced to face consequences. Or be destroyed,” said Ihor Klymenko, head of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, in published comments on the Wednesday store attack.
Russian rockets or artillery hit villages in the Kherson rural region Belozersky on Tuesday, killing a total of three civilians, an Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU statement said.
Ukrainian officials in the past have claimed the Kremlin uses agents operating inside towns and villages in the Kherson region to find targets for Russian artillery to shoot at. Russian troops occupied Kherson, an industrial city with a pre-war population of 280,000 for eight months. The Ukrainian army liberated Kherson in November.
Ukrainian security forces have in the past invoked multi-day bans on public movement in cities recently occupied by Russian troops, and in locations through which major Ukrainian troop movements were taking place.
The Kherson curfew comes against a background of intense Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) preparations for a counteroffensive. Most military analysts are predicting the Ukrainian main effort will be in the southern Zaporizhia or Kherson sectors, or both.
Kyiv officials have broadly hinted of plans to launch a major assault in the coming weeks without saying precisely where and when.
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