Ukrainian forces shelled a civilian river crossing in the former Ukrainian city of Kherson late on Thursday, killing at least four people, local officials said.
The attack came while people were being moved from the right bank of the Dnepr River, following an order issued earlier this week.
Kherson Region Governor Vladimir Saldo said the relocation order was in response to an increase in Ukrainian strikes on the city and concerns that the area could be flooded if Kiev’s troops destroy the dam at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station.
“I know of four people being killed. One woman and three men,” the deputy head of the local administration, Kirill Stremousov, said during an appearance on the Soloviev Live program on Friday.
Ukraine targeted a crossing, which has been only used by civilians, using fragmenting shells to increase the number of casualties, he added.
The local health service said 13 people were also wounded in the strike. Earlier reports claimed that there were children and journalists among the injured.
The Ukrainian attack in Kherson employed US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, according to the emergency services.
A total of 12 missiles were fired, with 11 of them intercepted by air defenses. But one made it through, landing near the Antonovsky Bridge, they claimed. Besides human casualties, at least 12 civilian vehicles were reportedly destroyed in the strike.
Around 15,000 residents of Kherson have by now been relocated to the left bank of the Dnepr River, Stremousov said on Thursday, adding that it was planned to evacuate a total of 60,000.
Kherson Region was officially declared part of Russia in early October, together with Zaporozhye Region and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, after people in those territories overwhelmingly supported the move during referendums.
Kiev and its Western backers have labeled the votes a “sham” and continue to view the territories as parts of Ukraine.