Fear is a powerful thing, and it motivates many to leave the Ukrainian city of Kherson.

with Ukrainian troops are approaching the city, thousands have left they crossed the big Dnieper on ferries.

Kherson was the first major city to fall to Vladimir Putin’s military since the invasion began in February, and its recapture will be a major reward for Ukrainians.

In the footage shot for Sky News, we see people Kherson landing boats from the wharves of the city, their bags and suitcases quickly trailing behind them.

However, who are these evacuees? Russian officials say they are trying to evacuate all civilians, warning of shelling of Ukraine and “terrorist attacks.”

But in a detailed interview, one of the residents of Kherson told Sky News that the evacuation was not intended for them.

“This is not a civil evacuation. Collaborators and those who came to help the occupiers are fleeing,” says local writer, activist and organizer Vlad, whose full name we will not mention.

“To tell the truth [those fleeing] number of no more than a few thousand people per day.

“And who are these people who are being taken away?

“Mostly these are families of Russian officers, families of Russian officials and collaborators who helped organize the referendum. Among them are teachers and doctors, communal workers and kindergarten staff.

“Those who took Russian passports.”

Vlad, an activist from Kherson,

“Young Russian troops are coming”

Russian kindergarten workers, says our interlocutor, were sent to help in the discredited referendum that preceded Russia’s annexation of the Kherson region.

However, new arrivals appear in the city in the form of young and inexperienced Russian troops.

“I think because of [Russian] mobilization, we see how new soldiers enter Kherson in fresh uniforms. They are clean, without dirt, very young. A lot of people like me wear glasses, you can see that they are students, but not professional soldiers.”

Will the Russians try to defend the western bank of the Dnieper, which includes the city of Kherson? This question is the source of much speculation.

Citizens flee from Kherson

“everything was stolen”

The commander-in-chief of the Russian army, General Sergei Suravikin, seems to have raised the prospect of a troop withdrawal when he said in an interview that the situation in Kherson was “difficult”.

Our interlocutor is simply not sure.

“I don’t think anyone knows, not even the Russian soldiers,” he said. However, there is no doubt about the large-scale robbery of this city.

Sky News has seen pictures of looted shops and businesses with signs on their fronts. “Empty,” they read. – Everything was stolen. Our interlocutor says that they raised everything, both big and small.

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“Russia plans to blow up a large dam”

“For the last few days, we have seen fire engines, ambulances, equipment from the oncology clinic and the regional hospital being taken, everything valuable. They are quickly taken away, loaded into cars and taken to the Crimea. plundering the city.”

He admitted that many are worried about the large upper dam located in the city of Novaya Kakhovka.

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Both Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of conspiring to destroy it. Our interlocutor said that the destruction of the dam is unlikely to help the Russians.

“The water will go to the south, where the Russian troops are stationed. It may happen, but it means that they will drown themselves… But they are in such a mood that it is better to drown their own than to give up.’

The coming days and weeks will be difficult, says Vlad. For now, liberating the city will not be easy.

“It’s horrible, horrible.”