Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky calls for mandatory evacuation of eastern Donetsk region

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has told all civilians still living in parts of eastern Donetsk region under Ukrainian control to evacuate, the BBC reports..

Speaking on Saturday during a late-night address from Kyiv, he warned of intense fighting in the region. "Everything is being organised. Full support, full assistance -- both logistical and payments. We only need a decision from the people themselves, who have not yet made it for themselves.. The more people leave Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill... We will use all available opportunities to save as many lives as possible and to limit Russian terror as much as possible."

Between 200,000 and 220,000 civilians still live in the unoccupied area of Donetsk, according to Ukrainian estimates. An evacuation notice from the government warned the coming winter would make thing worse, especially for children.

"They need to be evacuated, you cannot put them in mortal danger in the winter without heating, light, without the ability to keep them warm," Kyiv's Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories said.

The president's intervention comes as Russia invited UN and Red Cross officials to investigate the deaths of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) in another part of Donetsk region held by Russian-backed separatists.

The troops were killed in unclear circumstances during an attack on a prison in Olenivka, with both sides trading blame.

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