Zelensky orders mandatory evacuation of Donetsk
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky orders the people still fighting in the Donetsk region to leave, noting that "that the residents who already left would be given compensation."
In a late-night TV address, the president also said that the hundreds of thousands who were still in combat zones in the Donbass region, which includes the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the neighboring Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), needed to leave.
"The more people leave [the] Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill," Zelensky boldly said, adding that the residents who already left would be given compensation.
On another note, Ukrainian media outlets quoted Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying that the evacuation has to be complete before winter since the natural gas supplies in the region were already damaged.
That was not the first time Ukrainian authorities have urged civilians to evacuate the areas they control in Donetsk, and former US ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst told Reuters it could be due to Kiev expecting heavy fighting rather than the shortages in fuel.
"I don’t know why Zelensky issued the call," he said. "What I do know is that there has been fierce fighting in Donetsk. The Russians took Lugansk several weeks ago. I expect further fierce fighting in Donetsk."
The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Territorial Defense Headquarters reported on Saturday the death of eight people and the injury of 15 after Kiev's forces shelled the city of Donetsk.
"Over the past 24 hours, from 08:00 on July 29 to 08:00 on July 30, eight people were killed and 15 more civilians were wounded as a result of shelling by the AFU [armed formations of Ukraine] on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic," the DPR headquarters said on Telegram.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Ukraine's leadership has made it obvious that it is hesitant to begin negotiations with Moscow, noting that his country was fully prepared to resume negotiations with Kiev.