STORY: Putin made the comments while marking Russia's Day of National Unity in Red Square in central Moscow. They come after similar calls from Russian-installed officials in Kherson urged the city's remaining residents to evacuate.
Moscow has already been ferrying people out of an area it controls in Kherson on the west bank of the Dnipro River, and this week announced that the evacuation zone would also include a 15 km (9 mile) buffer area on the east bank. But the comments appear to be the first time Putin has endorsed the evacuations personally.
Russia says it has been taking residents to safety from the path of a Ukrainian advance. Kyiv says the measures have included forced deportations of civilians out of Russian-occupied territory, a war crime, which Russia denies.