Ukrainian Zelenskyy announces evacuation of Donetsk region


President Zelenskyy says the logistical and support operations were handled by the authorities.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his government ordered the mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region, the scene of fierce fighting with Russia.

The governor of Donetsk, where Moscow focuses its offensive, said six civilians were killed and 15 others injured in Friday’s attacks.

In a televised address late on Saturday, Zelenskyy also said the hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the greater Donbas region, which includes both Donetsk and the neighboring Luhansk region, must leave.

“The more people who leave (the) Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill,” he said, adding that residents who left would receive compensation.

Logistics and support operations were handled “from A to Z” by the authorities, he added.

“We will help you. We are not Russia. We will do everything we can to save as many lives as possible and limit Russian terror as much as possible.”

Separately, domestic Ukrainian media quoted Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying the evacuation should take place before winter sets in as the region’s natural gas deposits had been destroyed.

Zelensky said hundreds of thousands of people still lived in areas of Donbas where there was fierce fighting.

“Many are refusing to leave, but it still has to happen,” the president said. “If you have the chance, talk to those who are still in the combat zones in Donbas. Please convince them that it is necessary to leave.”

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