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Civilians urged to flee eastern Ukraine as Zelenskyy warns of 'hard battle' to come

Ukraine is preparing for “hard battle” as Russian forces continue to amass in the east. Officials are urging civilians flee.

The threat to Kyiv’s capital has subsided, but it is still rising in the east, warned President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

We believe in the fight and victory, even though it will be hard. He said that we are prepared to fight simultaneously and to look for diplomatic means to end this war.”

Officials have asked civilians to leave the area immediately.


Following a meeting with Karl Nehammer, the Austrian Chancellor, Mr Zelenskyy made his comments in Kyiv. He also hosted Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, on Saturday.

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PM hails the ‘heroes’ Zelenskyy of Kyiv

In other developments:

* UK will send 120 armoured vehicles to Kyiv and anti-ship missile system to Kyiv

* Information from Ukraine and Western countries indicates that Russian forces are moving to the east and south.

* Russians use improvised explosives devices to harm morale in Ukraine, according to the British MoD

* The Russians abandoned tanks, artillery, and vehicles in the “Hasty Retraction” from Kyiv.

* Five children were confirmed dead in Friday’s explosion at Kramatorsk’s railway station.

The latest Ukraine news as Boris Johnson surprises Kyiv

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Boris Johnson in the Ukrainian train

Evidence of mass graves, hostages and human shields

According to the UK Military of Defence, Russia’s withdrawal from the north has left evidence of “disproportionate” targeting of civilians, hostages used as human shields and the discovery of mass graves.

According to the MoD, “Russian forces continue using IEDs to inflict injuries, lower morale and limit Ukrainian freedom of movement.”

“Russian forces continue to attack infrastructure targets with high collateral harm to civilians. This includes a Rubizhne nitrate acid tank.”

Later, the MoD stated that Russian armed forces were trying to increase troop numbers in response to increasing losses. They also wanted to replace personnel who had been released from military service since 2012.

It said: “Efforts at increasing fighting power also include recruiting from the unrecognised Transnistria area of Moldova.”

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Johnson visited Kyiv on Friday , and the MoD updated its information. Johnson confirmed that the UK would continue to provide military assistance according to the defense secretary.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the UK will send 120 armoured vehicles to Ukraine and provide anti-ship missile system systems to Ukraine. The UK also guarantees a PS500m loan from World Bank to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian parliament had tweeted earlier: “We welcome Boris Johnson to Kyiv. He is the first G7 leader to visit Ukraine since the start of the large-scale war.

“We are strengthening the union of democracies. Be brave like Boris. Be brave like Ukraine.

“We are paying very high prices”

Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian negotiator, stated that Mr Zelenskyy would not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin until Russia has defeated Russia in its east. This would strengthen the country’s negotiating position.

“We are paying very high prices. According to Interfax Ukraine news agency, he stated that Russia must let go of its imperial illusions.

Sky News spoke to residents of the east about their fears of Russia’s withdrawal from Kyiv.

One woman called her village “the shield Mykolaiv”, referring to its key port and shipbuilding hub at the Black Sea. This is what blocks Russia’s access to Odesa, Russia’s trading hub.

Many are stubborn and unwilling to flee. Volunteers are also signing up in Barvinkove in the east to fight at the frontline.

Sky News was told by a member of the Ukrainian battalion: “I regard them as people, but after what they did in Bucha…they must die.”

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Volunteers prepare for battle in eastern Ukraine

Invasion by Russia has now reached its seventh week. It has caused around 25% of Ukraine’s 44million inhabitants to flee their homes. This war has left many dead and hundreds injured, and turned cities into rubble.

International condemnation has been poured on the civilian death toll.

At least 50 people, including children, were killed in a missile attack on Friday at Kramatorsk’s train station. This was where thousands had been trying to evacuate.


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