IRPIN, Ukraine – Amid fierce fighting with Russian forces, Ukrainian soldiers are making concerted efforts to evacuate civilians living in the city of Irpin, about 30 kilometers (10 miles) northwest of the capital Kyiv.
On day 11 of the Russian war in Ukraine, soldiers and local authorities are scrambling to evacuate people in Irpin, a strategically important city located on the river of the same name, amid smoke rising from various sites and intermittent explosions, emergency sirens, and gunshots.
People, especially children and the elderly, are fleeing their homes to avoid the explosions and trying to get into Kyiv with only what they can carry with them.
The situation in Irpin is "quite bad," according to Ivan Kashirskiy, who fled the clashes to arrive in the capital.
Kashirskiy stressed that he was assisted in his evacuation by Ukrainian soldiers because there was "no electricity, no water."
"The phone hasn't worked in weeks. We took our belongings and crossed the bridge," he added.
He added that they were having a very hard time in Irpin, saying: "There’s no military zone in the area where our house is, yet bombs are falling."
"There were explosions last night, so we didn't get any sleep... the situation was dire," he added.
He said that his mother and several relatives have moved to Poland and that he will spend a few days in the capital deciding what to do next, but it all depends on the situation.
At least 351 civilians, including 22 children and 41 women, have been killed and 707 others injured in Ukraine since Russia launched a war in the Eastern European country on February 24, according to UN figures, with the real toll feared to be higher.
More than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, the latest data by the UN refugee agency showed.
The Russian attacks have been met by an outcry from the international community, with the EU, Britain, and US implementing a range of economic sanctions against Moscow. (Anadolu)