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- Russian authorities made Ukrainians living in occupied towns evacuate or sign liability waivers.
- If anyone refused to evacuate, they had to sign papers saying Russia wasn’t responsible for them.
- Citizens told The New York Times that Russia forced evacuations ahead of a Ukrainian counterattack.
Authorities are telling Ukrainians living in Russian-occupied territories to evacuate ahead of Kyiv’s expected counteroffensive. But the majority of citizens are refusing to leave their homes, so the Russian occupation authorities are forcing them to sign papers relieving Moscow of any liability or responsibility for them.
This past week, civilians in occupied regions told The New York Times that Russian leaders abruptly ordered them to evacuate. The numbers of potential evacuees varies depending on the size of towns. About 70,000 people in the southern Zaporizhzhia region were told to leave last Friday, Russian news agency TASS said.
But only a small number of people are actually following the orders, Ukrainian citizens told the Times. Most of the evacuated citizens already have a Russian passport and citizenship, a Ukrainian official said. Insider previously reported that Russian authorities were forcing Ukrainians in occupied areas to either get a Russian passport or be “deported” and have their property seized.
One resident of the occupied town of Polohy said that after the evacuation buses had left, Russian authorities forced remaining citizens to sign papers acknowledging that they are staying of their own volition and were informed of the risks and dangerous of remaining in town.
The papers apparently put the responsibility of remaining in the occupied towns ahead of heavy shelling and Ukrainian counterattacks on the citizens themselves, the Times reported.