Moscow creates ‘true hell’ in eastern Ukraine offensive: Governor | Russia-Ukraine war News

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The Ukrainian government has urged people in Russian-occupied southern areas of the country to evacuate “by all possible means” in advance of a Ukrainian military offensive as Moscow’s forces were described as creating a “true hell” in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, officials said.

Governor of LuhanskSerhiy Haidai stated that Russian forces had mounted 20 mortar, rocket, and artillery attacks in the province over the weekend and were pushing towards Donetsk’s border.

“We are trying to contain the Russians’ armed formations along the entire front line,” Haidai wrote on Telegram, describing the attacks in terms of a “true hell”.

Russia took the Ukrainian resistance’s last major stronghold in Kiev last week Luhansk, the city of Lysychansk, and analysts had predicted that Moscow’s troops likely would take an “operational pause” to rearm and regroup its forces.

“So far, there has been no operational pause announced by the enemy. He is still attacking and shelling our lands with the same intensity as before,” Haidai said.

Later, the governor stated that the bombardment of Luhansk had been suspended because Ukrainian forces had destroyed Russian ammunition depots.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has appealed to residents of Russian-held territories in the south of the country to evacuate so that occupying forces could not use them as human shields during a forthcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive.

“You need to search for a way to leave, because our armed forces are coming to de-occupy,” she said. “There will be a massive fight. I don’t want to scare anyone. Everyone understands all of this anyway.”

Vereshchuk spoke at a press conference on Friday night, stating that a civil evacuation was underway for Zaporizhia and Kherson regions. Due to safety concerns, she declined to provide details.

It was not made clear how civilians were expected to safely leave Russian-controlled areas while missile attacks and artillery shelling continued in surrounding areas, or whether they would be allowed to depart by occupant forces, or even if they would hear the Ukrainian government’s appeal to evacuate.

Deaths in civil society continue to rise

Five people were killed and eight more wounded in Russian shelling on Friday of Siversk and Semyhirya in Donetsk province, the region’s Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday morning.

In the city of Sloviansk, widely considered to be the next target of Russia’s offensive in the east, rescuers said they pulled a 40-year-old man from the rubble of a building destroyed by shelling on Saturday morning. Kyrylenko claimed that several people were still under the rubble.

According to regional authorities, Russian missiles also killed and injured two others in Kryvyi Rih’s southern city.

“They deliberately targeted residential areas,” Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, said on Telegram.

Kryvyi Rih’s mayor, Oleksandr Vilkul, said in a Facebook post that cluster munitions had been used, and he urged residents not to approach unfamiliar objects in the streets.

In northeast Ukraine, a Russian rocket attack that hit the centre of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, injured six people, including a 12-year-old girl, prosecutors in the region said.

“According to preliminary data, an Iskander ballistic missile was probably used in the strike,” the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on Saturday.

“One of the missiles hit a two-storey building, which led to its destruction. Neighbouring houses were damaged.”

Kharkiv was targeted several times during the conflict, including in the last week. Oleksandr Senkevych, Mykolaiv Mayor, reported in Telegram that six Russian missiles had been fired at his town in southern Ukraine, close to the Black Sea. However, no casualties were sustained.

Russian defense officials claimed that on Saturday, their forces had destroyed a hangar that housed US howitzers in Ukraine. It was located near Donetsk’s Chasiv Yar province. Ukraine did not immediately respond.

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