Russian strikes on Ukraine's southern Kherson region killed 18 people on Wednesday, local prosecutors said, as authorities introduced a curfew in the main city of Kherson starting Friday, May 3.

 

The strikes came as Ukraine prepares for a spring offensive.  

 

The city of Kherson -- from which Russian forces withdrew last November -- lies near the frontline in southern Ukraine. 

 

"As of now, we know of 18 dead and 46 wounded," the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said on Telegram.

 

"Russian attacks on Kherson continue. They are hitting civilians."

 

Officials earlier said three people were killed in a strike on Kherson's only working hypermarket. 

 

The prosecutors said three employees of a "power engineering team" were killed by shelling between the nearby villages of Stepanivka and Muzykivka. 

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Officials also announced Wednesday that Kherson will be under curfew for 58 hours from Friday.  

 

Long curfews have been used by Ukrainian authorities in the past to facilitate troop and arms movements.

 

The head of Kherson's regional military administration Oleksandr Prokudin said the curfew would last from 1700 GMT on Friday until 0300 GMT on Monday.

 

"During these 58 hours, it is forbidden to move on the streets of the city. The city will also be closed for entry and exit," Prokudin said on Telegram, advising residents to stock up on food and medicine.

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Prokudin said residents could go for short walks near their houses or visit shops but should carry identity documents with them.

 

"Such temporary restrictions are necessary for the law enforcement officers to do their job and not put you in danger," he wrote.

 

Kherson was captured by Russian troops last year in the first days of the invasion and remained under Russian occupation until November 2022.

 

Russian forces withdrew from the city, crossing to the eastern side of the Dnipro River which now delineates part of the front line in southern Ukraine.

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