Russia reportedly clearing out hospitals in occupied Kherson

Russian troops guard an entrance of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. (AP Photo, File)
Russian troops guard an entrance of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. (AP Photo, File)

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian troops have moved large numbers of sick and wounded comrades from hospitals in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region and stripped the facilities of medical equipment, Ukrainian military officials report today as their forces fight to retake a province overrun by invading soldiers early in the war.

Kremlin-installed authorities in the mostly Russian-occupied region had previously urged civilians to leave the city of Kherson, the region’s capital — and reportedly joined the tens of thousands of residents who fled to other Russia-held areas ahead of an expected Ukrainian advance.

“The so-called evacuation of invaders from the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region, including from medical institutions, continues,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says in an update.

“All equipment and medicines are being removed from Kherson hospitals.”

The military’s claims can’t be independently verified. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address last night that the Russians were “dismantling the entire health care system” in Kherson and other occupied areas.

Elsewhere today, at least one Russian ship suffered damage in a major port in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Ukraine and Russia offer different versions of what happened and who is to blame.

The Russian Defense Ministry says a minesweeper had “minor damage” during an alleged pre-dawn Ukrainian attack on navy and civilian vessels docked in Sevastopol.

The city, Crimea’s largest, hosts the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The ministry says Russian forces had “repelled” 16 attacking drones. Earlier, the Kremlin-installed governor of Sevastopol reported an “ongoing” drone attack.

An adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry gives a different account, claiming that the “careless handling of explosives” had caused blasts on four warships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Anton Gerashchenko writes on Telegram that the vessels included a frigate, a landing ship and a ship that carried cruise missiles used in a deadly July attack on a western Ukrainian city.

Neither side’s claim can be immediately verified.

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