In a video, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday evening called on the population to evacuate the Donetsk region in the east of the country, whose cities are the target of bombardments by Russian forces.
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"A government decision has been taken on the mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk region," the Ukrainian president said. “Please evacuate,” he added in the video.
"At this stage of the war, terror is Russia's main weapon," he said, as Russian strikes on cities in the region claim civilian casualties almost every day.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk previously announced the compulsory evacuation for the entire population of the Donetsk region, one of the two administrative regions of the Donbass basin, which remains partly under the control of Kyiv.
She had motivated this decision, in statements on television, by the destruction of the gas networks and the absence of heating next winter in the region.