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Avdiivka evacuations begin amid a flare up in fighting in east Ukraine


Ukraine

Avdiivka evacuations begin amid a flare up in fighting in east Ukraine

With temperatures plunging below minus 17 degrees Celsius, thousands of residents of Avdiivka have decided to leave their homes. The youngest residents were among the first to join the voluntary evacuation.

A recent flare-up in hostilities between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, has left many in the city without heating, water or electricity.

Nato called on Russia to use its influence with rebels in eastern Ukraine to end the violence.

“We call for an immediate return to the ceasefire and withdrawal of all heavy weapons banned under the Minsk agreements. OSCE monitors must be guaranteed free and safe access throughout the region. This must include Ukraine’s border with Russia,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Both Kyiv and the Russian-backed rebels accuse the other of launching offensives on Avdiivka in violation of the Minsk truce. The deal was reached in February 2015, but monitors report almost daily violations.