Civilians flee as Russia attempts to seize Donetsk

STORY: Women, children and elderly people, some in wheelchairs, were seen boarding the train and settling in the sleeper carriages ahead of a long journey to safety. Train crew members and volunteers helped get people on board the train bound for Dnipro and Lviv.

Lidia, a 64-year-old resident of the eastern town of Soledar, told Reuters the apartment block where she used to live was damaged in shelling and she could not stay there any longer.

Another woman, Kateryna, who was travelling with her children, fled the town of Sievierodonetsk before it was captured by Russian forces. She said they had to abandon their previous life and have nowhere to go.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, has denied deliberately targeting civilians.

Ukrainian officials have said they expect Kramatorsk, a city of more than 150,000 people before the Russian invasion that lies some 85 km from Pokrovsk, to become one of the main focuses of Russia's offensive in eastern Ukraine.

After failing to capture the capital Kyiv at the outset of the invasion, Russia has shifted to a campaign of devastating bombardments to cement and extend its control of Ukraine's south and east.

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