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Civilians flee eastern Ukraine ahead of new Russian offensive

By Jon Henley

13 Apr 2022 · 4 min read

Civilians have fled eastern Ukraine in advance of a forecast attack, as Russian forces closed in on the ruins of Mariupol – where 21,000 civilians have reportedly died – and Vladimir Putin said Moscow’s invasion would proceed “calmly” and to plan.

Ukrainian forces in the east dug in on Tuesday for a major new Russian offensive, with the governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Gaidai, urging all residents to evacuate as soon as possible using agreed humanitarian corridors. “It’s far more scary to remain and to burn in your sleep from a Russian shell,” Gaidai said on social media. “Evacuate: with every day the situation is getting worse. Take your essential items and head to the pickup point.”

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