Some 18 settlements in Sumy Oblast had been abandoned by their residents due to constant cross-border strikes by Russian forces, Governor Volodymyr Artiukh said in an interview with Ukrinform published on Dec. 7.
Sumy Oblast in Ukraine's northeast lies at the Russian border and suffers daily attacks by Russia, regularly inflicting property damage and casualties. Parts of the region had been briefly occupied by Moscow in the first weeks of the full-scale invasion.
Artiukh noted that even though civilians had left the settlements, the Ukrainian military is maintaining a presence there and controls entry and exit.
Although authorities announced a voluntary evacuation from settlements in the five-kilometer border zone most affected by shelling in the summer, not everybody wants to leave, the governor said.
"A total of 115 settlements in the oblast are subject to evacuation," Artiukh said.
"During the evacuation, we took more than 700 children out of the danger zone. This is more than half of all the children registered there."
Around one-third of the oblast is considered to be in the combat zone, the official said.
Sumy Oblast also faces cross-border incursions by Russian sabotage units, even though Border Guard spokesperson Andrii Demchenko said last week that the sabotage groups began shifting their focus toward Kharkiv Oblast.
Just over the past day, the region suffered 26 Russian attacks, resulting in two people injured in the Seredyna-Buda area.