“Get yourself to safety. The residents of Kherson received a text message Wednesday morning, “The shooting is coming from the Ukrainian army. The Ukrainian city was the first major city to fall into Russian hands during the war in March. With all indications that Ukrainian forces are planning an offensive to retake the city in the coming days, the designated Russian administration wants to “evacuate” 50,000 people from Kherson.
Thousands of people have already responded to that call. But there is resistance, too. Since citizens are only allowed to flee to an area under Russian control, many pro-Kiev residents consider the “evacuation” to be a forced deportation.
In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday declaring martial law in the illegally annexed Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhia. This means that civilian interests in those areas are subject to military objectives. For example, Russians can compel or prevent Ukrainian citizens from going to certain regions or taking over the administration of justice.
“There is also an economic aspect to it,” says international politics professor David Crickmans (UAntwerp). Martial law can give the military the authority to order fuel or food. So that could be a way to compensate for the difficulty of the show.”
The declaration of martial law indicates the concern of the Russians. If Ukraine can recover Kherson, then the road to Crimea will be open. Meanwhile, Russia continues to harass Ukrainians with attacks on civilian targets. In less than a week, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, 30 percent of Ukrainian power plants were destroyed by Russian bombing. As a result, at one time, 4,000 places in eleven districts were without electricity. Ukrainians stock up on power banks and small fires, then winter is yet to come.
In addition, nine cities were again hit by Russian air strikes on Wednesday. Some of these attacks were again carried out by Iranian Kamikazedrones, which crashed into buildings armed with explosives. The fact that Iran is interfering in the war in this way angered many Western countries. On Wednesday, a number of European Union ambassadors agreed to impose new sanctions on Iran. This will come barely a week after the European Union has already imposed sanctions on Iran, as the country has been suppressing domestic protests for a month.
Iranian arms transfers have also increased tensions with other countries in the Middle East. For example, Israel, which has so far been far from the war, offered Ukraine an anti-aircraft defense system. In this way the conflict is internationalized. “This is a new phase in the war,” says Crickmans.
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