Evacuations As Russia Advances In Ukraine's Donbas

Evacuations as Russia advances in Ukraine's Donbas

Sloviansk, Ukraine, July 7 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 7th Jul, 2022 ) :The evacuation of desperate civilians from Sloviansk pressed on Wednesday as Russian troops pushed towards the eastern Ukrainian city in their campaign to control the Donbas region.

Sloviansk has been hit by heavy bombardment as Russian forces advance westwards on day 133 of the invasion.

"Twenty years of work; everything is lost. No more income, no more wealth," Yevgen Oleksandrovych, 66, told AFP as he surveyed the site of his car parts shop, destroyed in strikes on Tuesday.

AFP journalists saw rockets slam into Sloviansk's marketplace and surrounding streets, with firefighters scrambling to put out blazes.

Around a third of the market appeared to have been destroyed, with locals inspecting what was left among the charred ruins.

The remaining part of the market was functioning, with a trickle of shoppers buying fruit and vegetables.

"I will sell it out and that's it, and we will stay home. We have basements, we will hide there," said 72-year-old greengrocer Galyna Vasyliivna.

"What we can do? We have nowhere to go, nobody needs us." Mayor Vadym Lyakh said around 23,000 people out of a population of 110,000 were still in Sloviansk but claimed Russia had been unable to surround the city.

"Since the beginning of hostilities, 17 residents of the community have died, 67 have been injured," he said.

"Evacuation is ongoing. We take people out every day." Many of the evacuees were taken by bus to the city of Dnipro, further west.

"The city is well fortified. Russia does not manage to advance to the city," the mayor said.

Vitaliy, a plumber, said his wife and their daughter, who is six months pregnant, were evacuated from Sloviansk on Wednesday.

"I am afraid for my wife," he told AFP. "Here, after what happened yesterday, they hit the city centre.

"I sent my wife (away), and I have no more choice: tomorrow I will join the army." The eastern Donbas is mainly comprised of the Lugansk region, which Russian forces have almost entirely captured, and the Donetsk region to its southwest -- the focus of Moscow's attack and the location of Sloviansk.

The fall of Lysychansk in Lugansk on Sunday, a week after the Ukrainian army also retreated from the neighbouring city of Severodonetsk, has freed up Russian troops.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian forces killed five civilians and injured 21 in the region on Tuesday.

The governor of Lugansk, Sergiy Gayday, insisted Russia did not control the entire Lugansk region, saying: "Fighting still keeps going in two villages."