Authorities urge residents to evacuate town as this will disrupt utilities

Kostan Nechyporenko and Hira Humayun

Authorities in the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka — located in the eastern Donetsk region — are urging people to evacuate as critical resources like mobile service and electricity are disrupted by Russian shelling, a top regional official said.

Starting Sunday, the town’s utilities will be shut off as “more and more of the town is shelled and destroyed daily,” Vitalii Barabash, the head of Avdiivka military administration, said in a Telegram post.

“The town is being wiped off the face of the earth. You have to leave the town — if the public utilities (personnel) are evacuated,” he said. “We will evacuate utilities in several stages. There was an incoming hit near the utility company facility today.”

The regional leader said mobile coverage for the town will be shut off, too. He also cautioned that people will not be able to charge their phones, because in the coming days there will be nobody to service the generators or run the mobile tower.

“The prospects for the town are very bad. Every day we have multi-story buildings falling apart. There hasn’t been a day in the last couple of weeks when we haven’t been shelled,” he said.

“That’s why you need to move out, you need to get ready for this. Especially those with children,” he said, “Real life shows that basements will not save you at the rate they are hitting the town with airstrikes now. Soon, I think Avdiivka may become a second Marinka — that is, nothing of the town will remain.”

About Avdiivka: The town is located just north of Donetsk city, a large metropolitan area.

The industrial town, home to a large smelting plant, has been shelled persistently since the Russian invasion began. However, in recent weeks Russian ground attacks in the area have intensified.

Some Ukrainian officials have said the town could become a second Bakhmut, the mostly abandoned city where Ukrainian and Russian forces have fought for weeks to what is, at this moment, a bloody stalemate.

Barabash has said in previous updates that civilian evacuations from the town are perilous, with a “road of death” leading out of town that’s monitored by Russian troops who “immediately open fire.”

CNN’s Svitlana Vlasova contributed to this report.

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