The first trainload of evacuees from war-torn Donetsk Oblast in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region arrived in Kropyvnytskyi, in Kirovohrad Oblast in the south-central part of the country, on Aug. 2, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk reported on Telegram.
The mandatory evacuation of Donetsk Oblast began on Aug. 2. Residents of the oblast, which remains under threat of invasion by Russia, were earlier asked to evacuate, as the Ukrainian authorities cannot provide reliable basic services, such as gas, water and electricity supplies, due to the ongoing hostilities.
“Women, children, elderly people, many people with reduced mobility – everyone was met and accommodated, everyone was helped,” said Vereshchuk.
She thanked local government services, international organizations and volunteers for their help with the evacuation.
It is not known how many people were evacuated.
The head of the Kirovohrad Regional Military Administration, Andriy Raikovych, posted a video of the arrival of the evacuation train to the regional center on his channel on Telegram.
“Kirovohrad Oblast met an evacuation train from Donetsk Oblast,” he said. “All services were prepared properly. People fled from shelling, (they have) suffered a lot. Even a kind word is important for them now. We will help everyone, give them a roof over their heads, feed them, and shelter them.”
The government of Ukraine introduced mandatory evacuation of residents of unoccupied areas of the Donetsk Oblast due to constant shelling and the impossibility of ensuring there would be heating services in the coming winter.
Today, 200,000-220,000 people are estimated to remain in the region, of whom 52,000 are children.
Residents can refuse evacuation. To do so they have to confirm in writing that they understand and are aware of all the consequences of their refusal, and bear personal responsibility for their own lives.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers on July 29 created a coordination headquarters that will deal with the evacuation from Donetsk Oblast.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on all residents of Donetsk Oblast to evacuate to other regions of the country.