Residents flee Ukraine’s Donetsk region amid heavy shelling

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People continued to leave Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Friday as Russia shells residential areas with heavy artillery.

“We waited too long. But finally I decided to save my child and myself,” Sloviansk resident Olena, who didn’t want to give her last name, told the Associated Press.

“There was shelling by every weapon that exists. Even children now know all their names,” Olena said while on board a train waiting for it to depart.

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Every day about 300 people leave the area on evacuation trains, but around 350,000 people remain in the region, the Donetsk governor said earlier this week.

Pavlo Kyrylenko urged people to leave the area as Russian forces continue their assault and the region becomes more dangerous.

Ukraine’s presidential office said Friday that at least 12 civilians were killed and another 30 wounded by Russian shelling over the last 24 hours.

Two cities in Donetsk experienced the heaviest barrage, with six people killed and 21 wounded.

Donetsk is one of two provinces - along with Luhansk - that make up the Donbas, a region of mines and factories where pro-Moscow separatists have fought Ukraine’s army for eight years and declared independent republics that Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized before he sent troops into Ukraine.

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