Crimea warned to prepare bomb shelters

·1-min read

Ukraine has told residents of Russian-annexed Crimea to prepare bomb shelters and stock up on supplies as Kyiv presses ahead with plans for a major counter-offensive to drive Russian troops out of occupied Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine has for weeks been telling residents in its occupied south to be ready and to evacuate before it launches a counter-offensive.

Still, Monday's warning was notable because it was addressed to residents of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, in contrast to areas captured by Russia during this year's invasion.

The Black Sea peninsula is thought to be out of range of Ukrainian weapons, though several recent explosions at Russian military sites in Crimea have called that into question. Kyiv has declined to claim responsibility for the incidents.

"We ask residents of occupied territories, including the Crimean peninsula, to follow (Ukrainian) officials' recommendations during de-occupation measures," said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.

"In particular, to prepare a bomb shelter, stock up with sufficient amounts of water and charge powerbanks. Everything will be Ukraine," he wrote on Twitter.