(Reuters) – Russian forces in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson are engaged in mass theft of medical equipment and ambulances in a bid to make the area uninhabitable, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday.
Ukrainian troops are gathered in force near Kherson, in the south of the country, prompting Russian-installed officials to evacuate many residents. Kherson is one of the four regions Moscow claims as part of Russia.
“The occupiers have decided to close down medical institutions in towns, take away medical equipment, ambulances, everything. They are putting pressure on doctors who still remain… to move to the territory of Russia,” Zelenskiy said.
“Russia is trying to make the Kherson region a no man’s land,” he added in an evening video address, saying pro-Moscow forces realised they could not hold onto the city and were therefore taking what they could.
Ukrainian officials have regularly accused retreating Russian troops of widespread looting.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)