“We have nowhere to go, it’s been like this for days,” Severodonetsk resident Volodymyr lamented Wednesday as he gazed at a burning building. “I don’t know who this war is for, but we are there under the bombs…”
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk also called from kyiv on Wednesday for residents of the country’s east to evacuate the region “immediately”, due to fears of a major offensive by the Russian army in Donbass, whose number one target is now Russia. You have to leave “now” on pain of “risking death” in the next few days. If the Russian military launched a major attack in the region, “we would no longer be able to help” the population, she warned.
At least two buses chartered by the authorities evacuated a few dozen people on Wednesday. Pavlo Kirilenko, governor of the Donetsk region still under Ukrainian control, assured on Wednesday that the population was beginning to respond to evacuation calls. “They listen. The road (for evacuation) is more borrowed,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
The Ukrainian authorities in the east of the country fear a situation similar to that in Mariupol in the south, where thousands of people still locked in this besieged and bombed city for weekslive hell. A convoy of seven buses and about 40 private vehicles under the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived in Zaporozhye from southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday.
“No water, no electricity”
“These people have really seen the worst,” said Lucile Marbeau, an ICRC spokeswoman. “We heard people say that they had to leave Mariupol on foot. There, in Mariupol, there is still no food, no water, no electricity.”
“A week ago, conservative estimates put the death toll at 5,000,” the Mariupol city council wrote in Telegram messages on Wednesday. “But given the size of the city, the catastrophic destruction, the length of the blockade and the fierce resistance, there could be tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Mariupol,” he warned.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia on Wednesday of blocking humanitarian access to Mariupol to hide the “thousands” of victims in this city. “I think one of the main reasons why we can’t get humanitarian aid to Mariupol is that until the Russian soldiers have ‘cleaned up’ everything, they are afraid that the world will see what is happening there,” Zelensky said in a statement. release. interview with Turkish television.
Russia has been accused of ‘war crimes’ after the discovery of dozens of bodies in several towns near kyiv, including Butcha, after the withdrawal of Russian forces. “What is happening is nothing short of major war crimes. Responsible nations must come together to hold those responsible accountable,” US President Joe Biden said in Washington on Wednesday, vowing to “stifle for years” Russia’s economic development.
The United States announced on Wednesday a new round of economic and financial sanctions against Russia, which they describe as “devastating” and which target in particular the big banks and the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Washington, Russia could see its economy collapse by 15% this year.