Nearly 6,000 people trying to leave Russian-occupied territories for the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia have become stuck due to flooding on the route, according to Ukrainian officials.
“There are more than 1,200 cars at the checkpoint in Vasylivka, that’s almost 6,000 of our citizens waiting in line to leave to the city of Zaporizhzhia,” Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov told Ukrainian television on Thursday.
“The waiting time there is up to seven days. But the situation has become more complicated in the last few days, because there is heavy rain in the Zaporizhzhia region, and the dirt road, which is in the gray zone, is now impassable.”
The route to Zaporizhzhia through Vasylivka is one of the few “green corridors,” which allow civilians to escape Russian-occupied territories to safer, Ukrainian-controlled parts of the country. The route has been flooded for the past few days.
“The enemy is deliberately blocking this path now, because they are deliberately releasing our citizens, who will then get stuck on this dirt road,” Fedorov added. “Therefore, evacuation is possible as of today, but it is very painful and takes quite a lot of time.”
On Wednesday, officials said the number of Ukrainian refugees trying to travel through the road had increased because of Ukraine’s counteroffensive toward the occupied city of Kherson.