MOSCOW: Moscow-installed authorities in occupied Kherson on Friday backtracked shortly after declaring a "round-the-clock curfew" as a Ukrainian counter-offensive nears the southern city.
"In the city of Kherson there are absolutely no restrictions that would limit the life of the city," Moscow-installed official Kirill Stremousov said on Telegram, after a first message announcing a curfew on the same channel was edited out.
In a first video message, Stremousov said: "A curfew has been declared in the city of Kherson, which will last 24 hours, round the clock, so that we can defend our city."
He then posted a second video, in which he edited out any mention of a curfew, followed by a third video denying any restriction.
"At the moment everything is fully under the control of the military and law enforcement forces in Kherson," Stremousov wrote under his latest Telegram message.
Stremousov nevertheless reiterated calls on residents to leave the city.
Moscow's forces have been organising a civilian pull-out from the Kherson region as Kyiv's forces are preparing for a fierce battle to retake the region's main city.
President Vladimir Putin on Friday said civilians "living in Kherson should be removed from zones of dangerous fighting".
Kyiv says Moscow's resettlement of civilians are akin to Soviet-era "deportations".
Kherson, a city with a population of around 288,000 people before the conflict, was the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February.
It is part of one of the four Ukrainian regions Russia claims to have since annexed but does not fully control.
Kremlin-installed officials vowed to keep control over the city and said they were turning it into a "fortress".
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