Kherson officials ease river crossings from Russian-held territory

The governor of Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, speaks to a soldier in Kherson’s Freedom Square

KYIV (Reuters) - Officials in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson announced on Saturday they would help citizens evacuate from parts of Russian-occupied territory on the east bank of the Dnipro River amid fears of intensified fighting.

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the regional governor, said officials were temporarily lifting a ban on crossings to allow Ukrainians living in villages across the river to traverse the Dnipro during daylight hours and to a designated point.

"Evacuation is necessary due to the possible intensification of hostilities in this area," he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukrainian troops liberated the city of Kherson, which sits on the west bank of the Dnipro, from Russian occupation on Nov. 11 but Moscow's forces still control the rest of the region on the east bank.

Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have continued shelling Kherson and surrounding areas from there, killing civilians.

Yanushevych said the ban on river crossings would be lifted through Monday.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Toby Chopra)