Governor Urges 350K to Flee Donetsk

Russia has stepped up offensive
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2022 8:21 PM CDT
Governor Urges 350K to Flee Donetsk
Ukrainian servicemen strengthen trenches on their position near the frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Tuesday, July, 5, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

The governor of the last remaining eastern province partly under Ukraine's control urged more than 350,000 remaining residents to flee as Russia escalated its offensive and air alerts were issued across nearly the entire country. Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that getting people out of Donetsk province is necessary to save lives and enable the Ukrainian army better to defend towns from the Russian advance, the AP reports. "The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region," Kyrylenko told reporters in Kramatorsk, the province's administrative center and home to the Ukrainian military's regional headquarters.

The governor’s call for residents to leave appeared to represent one of the biggest suggested evacuations of the war, although it's unclear whether people will be willing and safely able to flee. According to the UN refugee agency, more than 7.1 million Ukrainians are estimated to be displaced within Ukraine, and more than 4.8 million refugees have left the country since Russia's invasion started Feb. 24. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said air alerts were issued Tuesday night in nearly all of the country, in many places after a long period of relative calm.

"You should not look for logic in the actions of terrorists," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. "The Russian army does not take any breaks. It has one task—to take people’s lives, to intimidate people—so that even a few days without an air alarm already feel like part of the terror." Much of the military activity appeared concentrated in Ukraine's east. Kyrylenko described the shelling as "very chaotic" without "a specific target ... only to destroy civilian infrastructure and residential areas." Putin declared victory in Luhansk, the other province in the Donbas region, on Monday. The question now is whether Russia can muster enough strength to complete its seizure of the Donbas by taking Donetsk province, too. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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