The President of Ukraine has announced a forced evacuation of people in the Donetsk region, amid fierce fighting with Russia.
In his nightly address, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said hundreds of thousands of people still in war zones in the greater Donbas region also needed to leave.
Mr. Zelenskyy said the sooner people leave “the fewer people Russian the army will have time to kill”.
“Full support, full support – both logistics and payments. We just need to decide from the people themselves, who have not made their own decisions. Go, we will help,” he said.
The president added that hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the greater Donbas region need to leave.
Separately, Ukraine’s domestic media quoted Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying that the evacuation needed to take place before winter began because natural gas supplies in the region had been destroyed.
Donetsk has seen heavy fighting in recent days, especially in the eastern town of Bakhmut, which has been the focus of the Russian offensive in the Donbas.
The announcement comes amid continued attacks in the region, including one on a prison in Olenivkain, in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region.
Russian officials and separatist authorities in Donetsk said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war and wounded 75.
Ukraine accuses Russia of deliberately shelling the prison to cover up torture and executions there. Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack.
South of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military said Russian forces had “partially succeeded” in establishing control over the Semyhirya settlement by attacking it from three directions.
Despite the attacks in the Donbas region, British defense and intelligence officials have described Russian forces as struggling to maintain momentum in the fighting.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense on Saturday said the Kremlin was growing “desperate”, adding that it had lost tens of thousands of troops.
The head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence service, Richard Moore, also said Russia had “run out of words” in its attack on Ukraine.
In southern Ukraine, in the Kherson region, the Ukrainian military said it had killed a series of Russian soldiers and destroyed two ammunition dumps.
The army’s southern command said more than 100 Russian soldiers and seven tanks were destroyed in Friday’s fighting.
“Ukrainian troops are landing against the Russians and this is just the beginning,” First Vice President of Kherson Regional Council Yuri Sobolevsky wrote on the Telegram app.
The army’s southern command said rail traffic to Kherson via the Dnipro River had also been cut, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in Crimea and the occupied east.