Jul 12, 2022 - World

80% of Donetsk residents have fled region, local leader says

 Firefighters conduct search and rescue operations on debris of buildings after Russian airstrikes hit residential areas in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk, Ukraine on July 11

Firefighters conduct search and rescue operations among the debris of buildings on Monday after Russian airstrikes hit residential areas in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk, Ukraine. Photo: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The vast majority of Donetsk residents have now fled, according to a local official who said the death toll from last weekend's airstrike on the eastern Ukrainian region's town of Chasiv Yar has risen to 34.

Driving the news: Donetsk regional military administration leader Pavlo Kyrylenko tweeted Tuesday that state emergency service workers had cleared about 70% of the rubble in the apartment block following Saturday night's strike, but search and rescue operations continued. "One child was among the dead," he said.

By the numbers: Kyrylenko said at an event earlier that nearly 1.7 million people lived in the region on Feb. 24, when Putin's forces launched their full-scale assault, per a translation from Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform.

  • Now, about 340,000, or 20.4%, of residents remain, said Kyrylenko, who pledged to step up efforts to evacuate more residents amid heavy fighting.

The big picture: Donetsk has been the scene of intense battles in recent weeks. Russian troops have continued to make "small incremental territorial gains" in the region, "with Russia claiming to have seized control of the town of Hryhorivka," according to the U.K. Defense Ministry's Tuesday intelligence report.

  • "Russian forces are likely maintaining military pressure on Ukrainian forces whilst regrouping and reconstituting for further offensives in the near future," it added.

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