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Official: Mandatory evacuation of families with children from Avdiivka to take place next week
A mandatory evacuation of families with children from Avdiivka will be carried out next week, Vitalii Barabash, head of the Avdiivka city military administration, said in an interview on March 30.
There are still 2,000 people residing in the Donetsk Oblast city, with at least six of them being children. This is a significant decrease from the approximately 50 children that were there three weeks ago, Barabash said.
According to Barabash, families with children are being evacuated daily. However, some refuse to leave.
"If parents act irresponsibly and put their children in mortal danger, there is simply no room for discussion, although I would prefer to avoid reaching this point," Barabash said.
The Ministry of Reintegration reported on March 7 that the Cabinet of Ministers had approved the mandatory evacuation of families with children from active combat zones.
The ministry holds oblast administrations and military officials responsible for both reaching an agreement and implementing the policy.
Children being evacuated from active combat zones must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, the ministry said. Furthermore, parents are not allowed to refuse.
Speaking at a press conference on March 3, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal reiterated that mandatory evacuation laws did not allow state bodies to forcibly take children away from their parents.
The criteria for mandatory evacuations applied primarily to Bakhmut at the time of its approval.
Given the increasing severity of the fighting in and around Avdiivka, Ukrainian officials are warning that Avdiivka could become "a second Bakhmut."