Ukrainian governor urges evacuation of 350,000 residents


A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in an eastern Ukraine province essential to his wartime aims, his troops escalated their offensive in the neighboring province Tuesday, prompting the governor to urge a mass evacuation of residents, Paralel.Az reports citing Associated Press.

Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that getting the 350,000 people remaining in Donetsk province out is necessary to save lives and to enable the Ukrainian army to better defend towns from the Russian advance.

“The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region,” Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko told reporters in Kramatrosk, the province’s administrative center and home to the Ukrainian military’s regional headquarters.

“Once there are less people, we will be able to concentrate more on our enemy and perform our main tasks” Kyrylenko said.

The governor’s call for residents to leave appeared to represent one of the biggest suggested evacuations of the war. According to the U.N. refugee agency, more than 7.1 million Ukrainians are estimated to be displaced within Ukraine, and more than 4.8 million refugees left the country since the Russia-Ukraine war started on Feb. 24

The governor said that because they house critical infrastructure such as water filtration plants, Russia’s main targets are now Kramatorsk and a city 16 kilometers 10 miles) to the north, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Kyrylenko described the shelling as “very chaotic” without “a specific target ... only to destroy civilian infrastructure and residential areas.”