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Russia partially relocates 18 settlements due to intensified shelling by Ukrainian troops
Moscow: Residents of 18 settlements in Russian-held frontline areas in Zaporizhzhia Region, including Energodar, have been temporarily relocated to safer places due to intensified shelling by Ukrainian troops, TASS news agency reported citing the acting governor of the region, Yevgeny Balitsky.
"In recent days, the enemy has intensified shelling attacks on settlements directly near the combat engagement line. Bearing this in mind, I have made a decision to evacuate first of all children and their parents, the elderly, people with disabilities and hospital patients from the frontline deeper into the region," Balitsky wrote on his Telegram channel. "People will be temporarily evacuated from the settlements of Timoshovka, Smirnovka, Tarasovka, Orlyanskoye, Molochansk, Kuibyshevo, Prishib, Tokmak, Malaya Belozerka, Vasilyevka, Velikaya Belozerka, Dneproprudnoye, Mikhailovka, Kamenka-Dneprovskaya, Energodar, Pologi, Konskiye Razdory, and Rozovka."
"We cannot risk people's safety and will provide funds for their orderly departure, lump-sum payments, accommodations, and meals. People will be temporarily accommodated within the region's boundaries," he added, according to TASS, the Russian State news agency.
"I would like to stress that this is a mandatory measure to ensure the safety of residents living in frontline territories. The Kyiv criminals are deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure. We take into account their methods of warfare and take appropriate measures," he noted.
Citing reports from the line of contact, Balitsky also said that the Ukrainian armed forces may launch a counteroffensive in the coming days if not hours.
"We believe that a counteroffensive will begin very soon. We have information from the line of contact, up to 150 kilometres deep, and we realize that it can happen in the coming days, if not hours," he told a Russian TV channel, reported TASS.
Balitsky added that the cities closest to the line of contact had been attacked in the previous week while speaking about the decision to move locals further into the area owing to increased shelling by Ukrainian forces. He claimed that schools and kindergartens in particular were targeted randomly.
The acting regional governor said, "We could not remain indifferent to the situation," according to TASS.
On April 25, The New York Times reported, citing leaked Pentagon and US intelligence documents, that Ukrainian forces were planning to launch a counterattack in the southern direction in May.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the private military firm (PMC) Wagner, said that the Ukrainian armed forces offensive has officially started and may soon move into the active phase, TASS reported. (ANI)