Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Russian forces have “completely destroyed” Ukraine’s Donbas region as they have intensified their offensive in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking in a video address late on May 19, Zelenskiy also accused Russian forces of attempting to kill as many Ukrainians as possible and repeated his accusation that Russia is committing genocide.
“It is hell there — and that is not an exaggeration,” he said, adding that 12 people were killed in the “brutal and absolutely senseless bombardment” of Severodonetsk on May 19.
There are “constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine. The Donbas is completely destroyed,” he said.
Zelenskiy also said he spoke on May 19 with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about a range of issues, including financial aid to assist the shattered Ukrainian economy, agricultural exports, and “the evacuation of our heroes from Azovstal.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said earlier it had begun registering hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who left the Azovstal plant in Mariupol as prisoners of war (POWs).
“Over the last 2 days, we’ve registered hundreds of prisoners of war leaving the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Registering POWs is an essential part of our work. It’s critical to ensure they’re accounted for & treated humanely and with dignity,” the ICRC said on Twitter on May 19.