Mariupol evacuation stalled as Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of breaking ceasefire
Kherson, a key port city on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine, was overrun by Russian forces in the early hours of Wednesday after days of heavy shelling and shelling. The Ukrainian flag was always hoisted on government buildings, and the city’s mayor, Ihor Kolykhaievremained at his post.
On Saturday, Kolykhaiev announced that Russian troops were everywhere and that the city of nearly 300,000 people was without electricity or water and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
Kolykhaiev said Russian forces had “settled” in the town and showed no signs of leaving.
“We have a lot of people here in need. We have cancer patients. Children who need medicine. These medicines are not getting to them right now,” he told CNN, adding that the Russians wanted send help, but the locals refused. .
People living in Kherson under Russian occupation describe days of terror confined to their apartments and homes, afraid to go out for even basic necessities – their city is now a dystopian shell of the home they knew and loved.
Checkpoints manned by Russian troops dot the streets of the city, five Kherson residents told CNN in recent phone calls. The roads are practically deserted because the inhabitants have either fled the fighting or remain locked up for fear of crossing Russian soldiers. Grocery stores have been emptied and medicines are running out, residents and officials said.
Russian troops surrounded the city and shoot anyone who tries to leave, according to locals, including a senior local health official whom CNN does not name for security reasons.
On Thursday, Russian forces fired on two men at a checkpoint after they tried to cross, killing one and seriously injuring the other, the official told CNN.
Andriy Abba, who works as a tax lawyer, says he is determined to stay in Kherson regardless of the occupation, as long as the Ukrainian flag flies over government buildings.
“Even if we wanted to evacuate women and children from here, it is simply impossible,” he added. “They shoot anyone who tries to leave.”