Evacuation and rotation: what is the situation on the right bank of Dnipro?

эвакуация Херсон
Фото: РИА Новости

Russian occupants evacuated their military hospital from occupied premises of Beryslav central district hospital on the right bank of Kherson oblast on October 24. Occupants’ field hospital and checkpoint near Kostyrka village of Novoraiska territorial community of Beryslav district also disappeared. However, the number of Russian military troops did not change. 

Local residents reported that field hospital and checkpoint in Kostyrka village disappeared unexpectedly. Russians left some property, in particular, tents and canisters (the latter were immediately taken by locals). On the other hand, many people witnessed the evacuation of military hospital from Beryslav. Occupants “calmed them down” by saying that “new hospital would come soon”.

At the same time, there are still many Russian soldiers in Beryslav and neighboring villages. They do not “flee” from the right bank; their movements look like rotation. 

“Too many dirty and stinking Russian soldiers appeared in Beryslav five days ago. They looked like soldiers from so-called “DNR” as they always looked like homeless people. Today I do not see them – they left or took a shower. But there are now many soldiers from Caucasus. For me, it is hard to say what’s going on. Sellers at bus station say that Russian soldiers often ask them how to get to Kakhovka Hydro Power Station”, as the resident of Beryslav told the CJI. 

Russian occupants keep confiscating any vehicles belonging to local residents. Earlier they took away plates from stolen cars; today they do not hide their crimes and leave them on cars. It should be noted that the martial law introduced by Putin in four illegally annexed regions of Ukraine “justifies” any robbery or looting by Russian soldiers. Many Russian military drive not only stolen cars but also bicycles and motorbikes. 

Today there are far less occupation authorities in Beryslav than before. Russians stopped delivering Russian “pensions” and “material assistance” to local residents without any warnings. The sale of SIM cards for Russian mobile operators also stopped. Russian mobile communications and Internet almost did not work during last days. Russian soldiers also ran into problems and often asked local residents about possibilities to pay for mobile communication. 

There are far less collaborators in Beryslav. Majority of those who stay are scared by counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and also – by the lack of safe shelters in Kherson region. Several collaborators were killed in Beryslav during Ukrainian intensive shelling at the beginning of October. 

“All occupants’ telegram channels told about Ukrainian shelling of the dormitory of Beryslav medical college and killed civilians. But the dormitory was the base for the Russian military. They left it 10-12 hours before the shelling. Collaborators settled there after Russian departure. They came from villages liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (Dudchany, Novooleksandrivka, Gavrylivka). The dormitory was shelled around 5 o’clock in the morning when all traitors slept”, as resident of Beryslav told. 

Ruined dormitory of the medical college 

Many Beryslav residents believe that the dormitory was bombarded by Russians themselves. They told that shock wave damaged some private houses located above the dormitory and Dnipro river. 

“Kindergarten “Kolobok” and transformer substation were not damaged at all. Though, they are pretty close to Dnipro. There is a suspicion that shelling was conducted from Kakhovka, on the left bank of Dnipro, occupied by the Russian army. Then, the Russian bombardment of the dormitory might pursue two goals: to get rid of useless collaborators and to make video for their propaganda channels”, as the resident of Beryslav suggested. 

People in Beryslav knew almost nothing about evacuation of civilians to the Dnipro left bank announced by Russian occupants. As they said there was no organized evacuation of civilian people in Beryslav. 

The situation is different in communities closer to Kherson. In order to evacuate people, Russian invaders brought buses whereas local collaborators frightened people and forced them to leave their villages. 

“We received a lot of viber messages about urgent need to go to Russia, as resident of Tokarivka village of Darivska territorial community of Kherson district told the CJI. Though occupants did not apply physical force to get us out of the village, we were scared. Local collaborators told that the Armed Forces of Ukraine would shoot everybody, throw grenades into basements, ruin Kakhovka Hyrdo Power Station and we would be flooded. I understand that it is the lie but I was scared. Moreover, we do not have access to information and we know little about events on the territories controlled by the Ukrainian government and movements of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Despair is the proper word to describe my feelings. It is very difficult to be under constant pressure of Russian occupants, without clear understanding of what will be in the nearest future”. 

Though occupants organized transportation for evacuation, a few people wanted to leave Kherson region. Majority of buses brought to Darivska community left the village half empty.

Commanders of the Russian occupation troops and collaborators declared about preparation of evacuation of Kherson residents and population of occupied Dnipro right bank to the left bank of the river. Occupants may plan to explode the dam of Khakhovka Hydro Power Station and flood right bank territories, in order to stop the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They started accusing Ukraine in planning such an explosion, as it has been reported. 

Why Russian General Surovikin needs evacuation of Ukrainians from the right bank of Dnipro and why it is not a “good will” – see “Issues of the National Security” with Valentyna Samar (project of the Center for Journalist Investigations), the broadcast from October 19, 2022.