Donbas authorities ask citizens to flee in the face of Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine | International
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Authorities in the Luhansk region, on Ukraine’s eastern fringe, urged civilians on Wednesday to evacuate the area “while it is safe” because Russian bombing could cut off escape routes. kyiv has reported that the Russian troops that invaded on February 24 are regrouping and preparing for a new offensive in the area they do not control in Donbas, which includes Luhansk. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has indicated that they are trying to open 11 humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians. “We are going to get everyone out if the Russians allow us to reach the meeting places [para la evacuación]. Because, as you can see, they don’t always respect ceasefires,” said the governor of the Lugansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, in a message on the Telegram application.
According to the latest part of the high command of the Ukrainian forces, the main Russian military efforts are now focused on preparing a major offensive to establish full control over the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, in the east of the country, and Mariupol, In the south. Parallel to these preparations, Russian artillery continues to hit towns in Donbas. This Wednesday, a dozen buildings were on fire due to Russian bombing, according to the Lugansk authorities. On March 25, Moscow announced that it was lowering its military targets and focusing its operations on the east of the country.
This part, issued on the 42nd day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, indicates that Russian troops continue their offensive towards Izium, a key city in the advance from Kharkov towards Sloviansk and Barvinkove, towns that can serve as a bridge in the Russian offensive towards the control of Donbas.
“I appeal to all residents of the Lugansk region”, said the governor of Lugansk, “evacuate while it is safe… Although there are buses and trains, take advantage of this opportunity”. Gaidai has reported that railway connections in the Donetsk region of Donbas had been damaged this week and it took several hours to repair. “This is a new alarm,” he said. The leader has added in a recording that the Russian forces had failed to break through the defenses in his region, but that they are destroying “everything in their path” and “will stop at nothing.”
Prime Minister Vereshchuk has also pointed out that anyone trying to leave the besieged southern city of Mariupol would have to use their own vehicles. Efforts to bring bus convoys to this city to deliver supplies and evacuate tens of thousands of trapped residents have failed since Russian forces surrounded Mariupol. Each side blames the other for hindering the departure of civilians.
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Capturing Mariupol could allow Russia to create a land bridge between two self-proclaimed breakaway people’s republics in Donbas and the Crimea region, which Russia captured and annexed in 2014.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has assured this Wednesday that more than 500 people from the city of Mariupol, located in southeastern Ukraine and under the siege of Russian troops for more than a month, have managed to flee from the location. The convoy, made up of buses and private cars, has reached Zaporizhia with the help of the ICRC.
Flight from Mariupol
“The arrival of this convoy in Zaporizhia is a great relief for hundreds of people who have suffered immensely and are now in a safer place. However, it is clear that thousands of civilians trapped inside Mariupol need a safe exit and help to get in,” Pascal Hundt, head of the ICRC delegation in Ukraine, said in a statement. Some 160,000 people are still trapped in the city, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
The civilians fled the besieged city under their own power and were picked up by the ICRC, who took them to the town of Zaporizhia, some 20 kilometers away. “The civilians transported in the humanitarian convoy have fled Mariupol by their own means,” the organization confirmed in Geneva.
The Russians continue to pummel the city of Mariupol using artillery and air force and “Ukrainian forces appear to be holding organized resistance in some parts of the city,” the latest analysis by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has published. , in its acronym in English). According to the analysis of this US institute, the Russian forces continued to position themselves to continue their invasion in eastern and southern Ukraine, after abandoning the attack on kyiv and “redeploying some of the combat forces withdrawn from Belarus to Russia.”
“But the Russian units that withdrew from kyiv are not likely to regain combat effectiveness for some time,” they say from the ISW. “Russian offensive operations southeast of Izium towards Sloviansk continued on a small scale and made limited progress. Russia has not yet tried to group large concentrations of forces in this axis, but continues to send tactical groups of individual battalions to advance on their own, “according to the analysis of this institute.
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