Russian bombardment preventing evacuations from Ukraine’s Luhansk region

Gaidai said 59 civilians had been killed in the region since the start of the war



AFP (Representational image)
AFP (Representational image)

By Reuters

Published: Fri 18 Mar 2022, 1:16 PM

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region said frequent and widespread shelling by Russian forces was preventing the safe evacuation of civilians from towns and villages on the front line.

Russia has denied targeting civilians since the start of its February 24 attack on Ukraine.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said 59 civilians had been killed in the region since the start of the war, which he said had entirely destroyed some residential areas.

“There is not one community that hasn’t been under fire,” he said on national television, naming the towns of Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Popasna as particular hotspots.

Efforts to evacuate civilians have been hampered by the fighting, but the local authorities hope a temporary ceasefire can be agreed for Saturday to allow trucks to distribute food, medicine and other aid to people most in need.

Bordering Russia, Luhansk lies in Ukraine’s coal-rich Donbass region that has been partly controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014. Governor Gaidai is the head of the region’s Ukrainian administration.

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