More than 200,000 people will have to leave their homes due to an alleged lack of heating
Kiev has ordered mandatory evacuations from the parts of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) that remain under the control of Ukrainian forces. Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk explained on Saturday the decision by saying that it would be impossible to provide the region’s residents with heating in the cold months.
Speaking during a national TV marathon, Vereshchuk, who also heads up what Ukraine calls the ‘Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories’, said that given the complete lack of gas supplies and widespread electricity outages, “there will be no heat in Donetsk region in the winter period,” and therefore about 200,000-220,000 residents will have to leave their homes.
“There is absolutely no gas supply in the Donetsk region, all the gas pipelines that could be repaired were repaired, but, unfortunately, the enemy destroys again and again everything that would help to warm people in winter,” she claimed.
Even before Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, the DPR had been accusing Ukraine of targeting civilian infrastructure. With the launch of the operation, the bombings only escalated, as have the accusations from both sides.
Vereshchuk emphasized that the evacuation of households is “the duty of every adult member of the family.”
“For example, there are 52,000 of our children in the Donetsk region. They must be evacuated, they cannot be exposed to danger if left without heat and light in the winter,” the minister stressed.
Vereshchuk emphasized that mandatory evacuations are permitted under Ukrainian law and said that those who refuse to leave will have to sign a document confirming that they understand the consequences of their decision and take full responsibility for it.
Zaporozhye Region, 65% of the territory of which is without gas supply, may be the next to be evacuated, Vereshchuk added.
According to the minister, the authorities have taken all of the necessary measures to provide evacuees with accommodation and proper social services.
“There is an understanding of where these people will be resettled, in which regions, where their children will study,” she said.
On Friday, the government supported her ministry’s initiative to create a coordination center, which will supervise the evacuation from Donbass.
“Donetsk is now on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. Active hostilities continue there, the infrastructure is destroyed. People are not only at risk of coming under fire every second – it will not be easy to survive in the absence of light, heat, medicine and food in winter. The solution – evacuation,” the government said in a statement.