Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday his government was ordering the mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region, scene of fierce fighting with Russia, APA reports citing Reuters.
In a late-night television address, Zelenskiy also said the hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the larger Donbas region, which contains Donetsk as well as the neighboring Luhansk region, needed to leave.
"The more people leave (the) Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill," he said, adding that residents who left would be given compensation.
Separately, domestic Ukrainian media outlets quoted Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying the evacuation needed to take place before winter begins since the region's natural gas supplies had been destroyed.
Zelenskiy said hundreds of thousands of people were still living in areas of Donbas where fighting was fierce.
"Many refuse to leave but it still needs to be done," the president said. "If you have the opportunity, please talk to those who still remain in the combat zones in Donbas. Please convince them that it is necessary to leave," Zelensky said,