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Moscow-installed occupying authorities in Kherson Oblast's towns of Oleshky and Skadovsk prepare to "escape" to the Russian-occupied Crimea, fearing a Ukrainian counteroffensive, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported on Feb. 27.
Local collaborators started to leave the region for the Crimean cities of Bakhchysarai, Simferopol, and Kerch on Feb. 21, according to the Ukrainian military.
On Feb. 24, Russian proxies in Kherson Oblast announced the so-called evacuation for "all interested," the General Staff wrote in its morning update.
Oleshky is located on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, 23 kilometers across from the liberated Kherson, while Skadovsk lies on the Black Sea, much closer to Crimea.
Ukraine liberated the southern regional capital of Kherson and its surrounding areas amid a long-anticipated counteroffensive in November. However, Kherson Oblast's settlements located on the east bank of the Dnipro River are still occupied by Russian troops.
Ukraine's upcoming spring counteroffensive will aim to "drive a wedge into the Russian front in the south between Crimea and mainland Russia," Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence, said in an interview with German media, DW reported.
The ultimate goal of the announced counteroffensive, according to Skibitsky, is "to liberate all the occupied territories of Ukraine, including Crimea."