Russia-Ukraine war: governor of Donetsk urges 350,000 civilians to evacuate as Russian troops advance – live

Governor of Donetsk urges 350,000 civilians to evacuate

A day after Russian president Vladimir Putin declared victory in seizing an eastern Ukraine province essential to his wartime aims, his troops escalated their offensive in the neighboring province Tuesday, prompting the governor to urge more than a quarter-million residents to evacuate.

Associated Press reports:

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.

Another Donetsk city in the path of Moscow’s offensive came under sustained bombardment Tuesday.

Mayor Vadim Lyakh said on Facebook that “massive shelling” pummeled Sloviansk, which had a population of about 107,000 before Russian invaded Ukraine more than four months ago. The mayor, who urged residents hours earlier to evacuate, advised them to take cover in shelters.

At least one person was killed and another seven wounded Tuesday, Lyakh said. He said the city’s central market and several districts came under attack, adding that authorities were assessing the extent of the damage.

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