President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine ordered hundreds of thousands of civilians living in Donetsk province to evacuate their homes after months of relentless Russian bombardment.
The call to leave, as Russian shelling continues to kill civilians, is the first time the Ukrainian government has issued such a broad directive. By doing so before winter, it was seeking to give people time to move and to prevent an unmanageable crisis later.
“The sooner it is done, the more people leave Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian Army will have time to kill,” he said of evacuation.
Iryna Vereshchuk, a deputy prime minister of Ukraine, said as many as 200,000 people needed to leave, as there would be no heat or gas supply in Donetsk this winter because the Russians destroyed the gas pipelines.
In Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, local leaders are forcing civilians to accept Russian rule and arresting those who resist. Next comes President Vladimir Putin’s 21st-century version of a war of conquest: the grass roots “referendum.”
One of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, Oleksiy Vadaturskyi, and his wife were killed during shelling of the port city of Mykolaiv.