Ukrainian authorities have warned civilians in eastern Ukraine that the coming days will be “their last chance” to leave the region before Russia launches a major offensive in the area.
“The next few days are perhaps the last chance to get out,” Governor Sergiy Gaiday said on Facebook, indicating that the Russians “were cutting off all possible avenues of exit.”
“Do not hesitate to evacuate,” he insisted, after writing on the Telegram application that the authorities “will not authorize a second Mariupol,” referring to this port city in southern Ukraine, besieged and devastated by the Russian army since the end of February.
The situation in the cities of Rubijn and Popasna, two cities in the Luhansk region in the east, “is deteriorating,” the official said. “Evacuations are complicated” and “there is not a single hospital in the region that is intact.”
“We will take people out on buses until the last day, until the Russians launch their offensive,” he said.
The Ukrainian authorities have been urging the inhabitants of this region of the country for several days to evacuate as soon as possible, since in the event of a major Russian military offensive, civilians “are exposed to death.”
Russia has reported that it is reorganizing its troops to focus its efforts on the “liberation” of Donbas, the region in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting kyiv-led military forces since 2014.