Volunteers scrambled to evacuate residents from Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on Saturday, Oct. 1 — an area in the frontline of the fighting between the Ukrainian forces and Russia’s army.
“We’re here to evacuate civilians from Bakhmut which is coming under Russian fire,” said Daniel Taylor, an American volunteer working with the Ukrainian evacuation team.
There is no water and electricity in houses in Bakhmut, a Reuters journalist said.
“Yesterday, or the day before yesterday, a projectile fell. There was an older man in the house, they took him away,” said Victor, a local resident.
“I was in the kitchen when the explosion happened here. It is impossible to be here.”
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Bakhmut is part of the Donetsk Region which was annexed by Russia after holding what it called referendums – votes that were denounced by Kyiv and Western governments as illegal and coercive.
Donetsk and Luhansk regions together make up the wider Donbas region that has been a major focus for Russia since soon after the start of Moscow’s invasion on Feb. 24 in what it called a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be Russian land in Friday’s ceremony — a swathe of territory equal to about 18 percent of Ukraine’s total surface land area.
Kyiv vowed to continue liberating its land of Russian forces and said it would not hold peace talks with Moscow while Putin remained as president.
By Reuters. (Production: Abdelaziz Boumzar, Andrii Pryimachenko, Natasa Bansagi)