Ukraine says ready for ‘big battle’ in east, evacuations continue

Ukraine’s presidential adviser said his country was fighting against Russian forces, including in Donbass, when more than 4,000 civilians were evacuated after the massacre at the Kramatorsk train station.

Ukraine has said it is ready to wage a “great battle” in the east of its territory, a priority target for Moscow, where the evacuation of civilians continues for fear of an imminent offensive.

“Ukraine must win (the great battles)”

“Ukraine is ready for the big battles. Ukraine must win them, including in the Donbass,” a region in the east of the country, said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykaïlo Podoliak, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

“And if that happens, Ukraine will have a stronger position in the negotiations, allowing it to dictate certain terms,” ​​he added.

Earlier in the day, at a press conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who had gone to Kiev, President Volodymyr Zelensky underlined: “We are ready to fight and at the same time look for diplomatic ways to end this war.

After withdrawing its troops from the Kiev region and northern Ukraine, Russia has prioritized the total capture of Donbass, part of which has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

More than 4,500 civilians evacuated

Two days after the massacre at the Kramatorsk station in the east of the country, in which 52 civilians, including five children, were killed in an attack attributed to a Russian missile, the evacuation of the population is underway. continued. Moscow has denied responsibility for the strike, going so far as to denounce a Ukrainian “provocation”. This Sunday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 4,532 civilians had been evacuated the day before.

The majority left the Zaporizhzhya region, she added, adding that nearly 200 people were able to leave the besieged port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine and more than 1,000 people were able to leave Melitopol, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna and Popasna in the Luhansk region. fled. †

“The Russian enemy continues to prepare to intensify its offensive operations in eastern Ukraine and take full control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” in Donbass, the general staff of the Ukrainian army in a daily update on Facebook on Saturday.

5 more killed in Donetsk bom bombing

In addition to ongoing fighting to take control of the key cities of Mariupol to the south and Izium further north, “the enemy continues to attack civilian targets across Ukraine,” the staff warned. Bombings have left five dead and five injured in the Donetsk region, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram in the evening.

In Lysytchansk, a small town in the Lugansk region, Mayor Olexandre Zaïka called on residents to leave as soon as possible.

“The situation in the city is very tense, I ask you to evacuate. It is going to be very difficult, enemy shells are falling everywhere,” he said in a Telegram message.

And in anticipation of a major Russian offensive, Ukrainian soldiers and members of the Territorial Defense were busy fortifying their positions and digging new trenches in the rural area of ​​Barvinkove, in the east of the country. The verges were cleared and anti-tank obstacles were placed at all intersections.

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