KHARKIV, UKRAINE, Apr 18 — Evacuation from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, won’t be announced, said Mayor Ihor Terekhov in the ether of national telethon. 

Although Russians attack Kharkiv regularly, Terekhov says that the situation in the city remains stable and there’s no reason to announce evacuation. 

He says Russians are actively spreading fakes about evacuation from Kharkiv to cause panic among locals. “It’s not the first time Kharkiv residents face this kind of disinformation,” Terekhov says. “Russians are using this tactic to shake people’s emotional state up.” 

Mayor noted that, right now, the media must pour efforts into debunking such fakes. 

On April 17, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reported on Russians trying to spread fakes about “so-called evacuation from Kharkiv,” sending out messages about Russian troops encircling the city in a Signal messaging app. 

The Guardian published an interview with Ihor Terekhov on April 16, where the Mayor says that, if left without air defense systems and military aid, held up in the U.S. Congress since the autumn of 2023, “Kharkiv is at risk of becoming ‘second Aleppo.’” 

Russia really has been shelling the Kharkiv region more intensely since the end of December 2023, exploiting “shell hunger” in the Ukrainian military and aid delays from the country’s allies. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported that Russian troops shelled the region 1,500 times since the start of the year. 

The attacks intensified even more since mid-March. On March 22, Russians unfolded another campaign of attacking Ukrainian energy infrastructure. They almost completely destroyed TEC-5 (Thermal Power Plant-5), a major power and electricity supplier for Kharkiv and Kharkiv oblast, and damaged Zmiiv TPP in the region. Afterward, Russians bombed energy infrastructure in the region again on April 4 and April 11.

The local government is considering shifting towards decentralization of heating infrastructure as there’s little hope of restoring the plants to full capacity before winter. 

As of April 18, pre-planned electricity outages were implemented in the Kharkiv region, with at least 22,600 homes in the region left without electricity at all. 

What’s happening in Kharkiv and region now