Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday called on the remaining residents of the Donetsk region to urgently evacuate in what he called a “government decision.”
“Everything is being organized. Full support, full assistance – both logistical and payments. We only need a decision from the people themselves, who have not yet made it for themselves,” he said in his nightly address.
“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.
Zelensky urged Ukrainians who have an opportunity to talk to “those who still remain in the combat zones in Donbas” to convince their fellow countrymen that it is necessary to leave, “especially if they are families with children.”
The Ukrainian president emphasized “there are hundreds of thousands of people, tens of thousands of children” remaining in Donbas region at the moment.
Earlier in the week, Ukrainian forces said they were able to repel Russian attempts at storming several districts in the Donetsk region. Ukrainian forces reported intense shelling across most of the Eastern front line but no advances from Russian forces.
’52,000 children in the Donetsk region’
Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, told Ukrainian media early Saturday there is no gas supply in the Donetsk region at the moment and “there will be no heating in the Donetsk region in winter.”
The Ukrainian government created a coordination center to help evacuate the residents of Donetsk region to the safer parts of Ukraine, Vereshchuk said.
The evacuation will be carried out by trains and by buses, she added.
Vereshchuk said there are “52,000 children in the Donetsk region” at the moment.
The people who refuse to evacuate will have to sign “a certain form of refusal from mandatory evacuation” stating they understand and are aware of all the consequences of staying in the combat zones and bear personal responsibility for their lives, Vereshchuk added.