Hundreds of thousands of civilians living in eastern Ukraine were ordered to evacuate their homes this weekend after months of relentless Russian bombardment destroyed the infrastructure needed to deliver heat and electricity. While the Ukrainians have stabilised their defensive lines in eastern Ukraine and the Russians have failed to make significant advances in weeks, Russian shelling of towns and villages continues to kill civilians daily.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking to the nation in his overnight address, urged the hundreds of thousands of people — including tens of thousands of children — living in Donetsk province to move quickly. “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.
It 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. Protecting civilians also takes up resources, taxing beleaguered emergency crews. Zelensky said the government would help people logistically and financially.
The Ukrainian president’s emotions sounded raw as he condemned the killing of Ukrainian prisoners of war in an explosion at a detention facility in the Russian-occupied part of Donetsk province as an act of mass murder. “Everyone is guilty — who approved, who organised, who blasted these people, who knew about it — they all will be found,” he said.
The Kremlin has said that Ukraine killed its own soldiers being held in the Russian prison camp using precision Umade missiles.

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