The Kherson Oblast Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation on Nov. 14 into two civilians having been refused entry to a bomb shelter in Kherson during a Russian attack.
A woman and elderly resident sought assistance at a local energy facility on Nov. 13 when Russian forces started to shell the city, the prosecutors said. They were reportedly not allowed to enter the bomb shelter used by the facility’s employees and were not given the address of the next closest place of refuge.
Ukrainian law enforcement has opened a case under Article 367-1 of the Criminal Code, which covers official negligence. The article's sanction entails a fine, correctional work of up to two years, or detention of up to three years.
"Kherson and other liberated settlements in the region are constantly under fire from the Russian army. In such conditions, it is unacceptable to violate the norms of current legislation and people's rights to civil protection," the prosecutor's office added.
"During an air raid alert, all bomb shelters must be available to the population of Ukraine. There is nothing more important than preserving people's lives and health."
This is not the first time civilians were blocked from accessing bomb shelters during Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities.
Two women and a nine-year-old child were killed by missile debris in Kyiv on June 1 while trying to enter a closed shelter. The incident sparked outrage toward authorities, who then launched a nationwide audit of bomb shelters.
After the audit revealed that around one-third of bomb shelters across Ukraine had been closed or unsuitable for use, President Volodymyr Zelensky tasked the relevant authorities with putting the facilities in order by July 25.