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Russia-Ukraine war live news: Donetsk governor urges evacuations amid Russian offensive

Donetsk governor urges 350,000 to evacuate

The governor of the eastern Donetsk region has urged 350,000 civilians to evacuate in light of an imminent Russian offensive.

The call comes a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin declared victory in seizing the the neighbouring eastern province of Luhansk.

It is now widely believed Russia intends to escalate their offensive in Donetsk, prompting authorities to urge more than a quarter-million residents to evacuate.

Volunteers deliver aid supplies to Ukrainian fighters in Sloviansk, Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Donetsk governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said that getting the 350,000 people remaining in Donetsk province out is necessary to save lives and to enable the Ukrainian army to better defend towns from the Russian advance.

The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region.

Once there are less people, we will be able to concentrate more on our enemy and perform our main tasks.”

Another Donetsk city came under sustained bombardment on Tuesday.

Mayor Vadim Lyakh said on Facebook that “massive shelling” pummelled Sloviansk and urged residents hours earlier to evacuate, advising them to take cover in shelters.

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