Ukraine's Zelensky announces mandatory evacuation of Donetsk region

"The more people leave [the] Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill," Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said.

People say goodbye as they board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, amid Russia's invasion of the country, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 20, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/GLEB GARANICH)
People say goodbye as they board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, amid Russia's invasion of the country, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 20, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/GLEB GARANICH)

Ukraine's government has decided on a mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region, the scene of fierce fighting with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday.

In a late-night televised address, Zelensky also said the hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the larger Donbas 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 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.

Zelensky said hundreds of thousands of people were still living in areas of Donbas where fighting was fierce.

People board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, amid Russia's invasion of the country, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 20, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/GLEB GARANICH)People board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, amid Russia's invasion of the country, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 20, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/GLEB GARANICH)

Zelensky urges citizens to evacuate

"Many refuse to leave, but it still needs to be done."

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky

"Many refuse to leave, but it still needs to be done," he 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."