Damage after shelling in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, in Ukraine on March 30.
Damage after shelling in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, in Ukraine on March 30. (Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukrainian military governors in the country’s east reported heavy shelling Thursday amid an apparent shift by the Russian military to redirect military efforts to the Donbas region. 

“We clearly feel that the transfer of [military] technology in our direction is beginning now,” said Serhiy Haidai, head of Luhansk region military administration, in televised remarks. 

“And as the equipment and personnel are being turned over, our enemies are simply firing more densely, powerfully. Everything is already involved here: aircraft, artillery, heavy-caliber weapons, mortars — all settlements are being shelled,” he said.

Separately, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk region military administration, said on Telegram that Russian forces overnight continued shelling in the central part of the region.

“In Maryinka, Krasnohorivka and Novomykhailivka, the enemy again used white phosphorous shells,” he said, referring to munitions that are either banned or circumscribed under international law in populated areas.

Eleven wounded civilians from the Maryinka community, including four children, were taken to the Kurakhiv City Hospital.”

Planned evacuation: Ukrainian and Russian officials announced a major evacuation was planned for Thursday from the besieged city of Mariupol, in Ukraine’s southeast.

Haidai, the Luhansk regional administrator, said efforts had also been underway to evacuate civilians from small towns in his region, even without such agreements with the Russian side.

“Our evacuation is going on every day without the so-called humanitarian corridors,” he said. “We don’t trust the orcs [a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russian troops] very much, and secondly, they don’t really agree with those corridors. It would be very important for us to evacuate people from Rubizhne and Popasna — the settlements that are under maximum fire.

“There are fights right in the cities. And from those cities it is impossible to evacuate people and even to deliver humanitarian aid, as such dense shelling is going on there.”

Haidai added: “So we work as usual, evacuation buses are constantly coming from Kreminna, from Lysychansk, from Severodonetsk, partly from Rubizhne, from the territory controlled by our defenders. And sometimes our carriers break into Popasna, where they pick up some small groups of people.”

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