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  |   Politics


Russia-Ukraine conflict: Kyiv orders mandatory evacuation in Donetsk / Wikimedia Commons

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine are in the crossfires of the war Russia is waging on Ukraine for the fifth month in a row. Over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered a mandatory evacuation of residents in the areas.

In a late-night address to the public Saturday, Zelenskyy said the government is ordering the mandatory evacuation of residents in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Zelenskyy said that hundreds of thousands of people in the Donbas region, where Donetsk and Luhansk are located, must leave as well.

“The more people leave Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill,” said Zelenskyy, adding that those who left would be compensated.

“Many refuse to leave but it still needs to be done,” said Zelenskyy. “If you have the opportunity, please talk to those who still remain in the combat zones in Donbas. Please convince them that it is necessary to leave.”

According to other media outlets in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that evacuations must happen before winter as the region’s natural gas supplies were destroyed. Zelenskyy said hundreds of thousands of people are still in the Donbas region, where Russian forces have focused their offensive on.

While this is not the first time Kyiv has called for civilians to evacuate the Russian-occupied areas in Donetsk, former US envoy to Ukraine John Herbst told Reuters that it may be because of the expectation of more fighting rather than fuel shortages.

Herbst explained that he does not expect Russia to be able to capture the rest of Donetsk compared to Luhansk due to longer logistics and the Ukrainian forces’ use of Western-provided long-range artillery and rocket systems.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday that it has not yet received permission to visit the site of the attack that took place Friday last week that killed dozens of Ukrainian POWs.

The ICRC said in a statement that families must be informed of what happened to their loved ones including through independent investigations in order to determine what happened.

Russia invited the ICRC and the United Nations to probe the incident Sunday.

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