The Guardian - Daniel Boffey - Wed 6 Jul 2022
Nearly 9 million people have left Ukraine since Vladimir Putin invaded, the UN refugee agency has said, as the governor of Donetsk called on civilians still in the region to flee.
Refugee agency releases figure as Donetsk governor urges people to leave after more civilian deaths
With Russia stepping up its offensive in the east of the country, there are increasingly loud calls from the Ukrainian authorities for people to escape while they can from frontline areas.
The UN refugee agency announced on Wednesday that 8.793 million people had crossed out of Ukraine since 24 February, while Donetsk’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, urged the region’s 350,000 population to flee amid reports of fresh deaths and injuries.
Donetsk is the last remaining eastern province of Ukraine partially under Kyiv’s control. Reports suggested on Wednesday that at least seven civilians had been killed in Russian shelling over the past 24 hours and 25 were said to have been wounded.
Kyrylenko said two people had died in the region’s central city of Avdiivka while fatalities were also reported in Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka, and Kurakhove.
“The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region,” Kyrylenko said. “Once there are fewer people, we will be able to concentrate more on our enemy and perform our main tasks.”
After declaring victory in the province of Luhansk, Putin has set as his latest public goal the “liberation” of the eastern Donbas region, made up of Luhansk and Donetsk, but his forces continue to face stiff resistance.
Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said on Wednesday that resistance was ongoing in villages around the city of Lysychansk, where 15,000 civilians remained.
On Telegram, Haidai said: “Today’s videos from Lysychansk are painful to watch.” He accused Putin’s troops of engaging in a scorched earth policy, “burning down and destroying everything on their way”.
He said: “The Russians are advancing, first of all, due to the fact that they are superior in artillery, with which they destroy cities and defense positions … The Russians have paid a high price, but the Luhansk region is not fully captured by the Russian army. Some settlements have been overrun by each side several times already.”
The UK Ministry of Defence said the battle for Sloviansk in Donetsk was likely to be the next key contest, as Russian forces approached within 10 miles of the town.
The latest security analysis from Whitehall suggested Russian forces were likely to continue to consolidate their control over the Luhansk oblast and the recently overrun Lysychansk, and that Russia’s eastern, western, central, and southern forces were converging on Sloviansk at pace.
On Tuesday, the Sloviansk mayor, Vadim Lyakh, said he was desperately seeking to evacuate those who remained in the city, whose population was once 107,000 and is down to about 23,000.
Meanwhile, the US state department spokesperson Ned Price said he did not expect the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to meet Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, at a G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
“I’m not in a position to walk through the choreography, but I certainly would not expect any meeting between secretary Blinken and foreign minister Lavrov,” he said.
Lavrov was in Vietnam on Wednesday, where he expressed the Kremlin’s appreciation for the lack of condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I expressed my appreciation for the very balanced objective position of Vietnam which is demonstrated by the refusal of this country to join the illegal sanctions,” he said at a news conference after meeting his Vietnamese counterpart, Bui Thanh Son.
The former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has raised the possibility of nuclear war if the international criminal court (ICC) moves to punish Moscow for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
“The idea to punish a country that has the largest nuclear arsenal is absurd in and of itself,” Medvedev said on Telegram. “And potentially creates a threat to the existence of mankind.”
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehavior acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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