Marina, who didn’t want to reveal her last name for fear of her safety, was one of them.

She decided to stay in her hometown of Kramatorsk, about 10 miles from the front lines, even though she had the means to flee to Kyiv or western Ukraine, far from the fighting.

She said the prospect of having to collect rainwater to drink and use the wood for heating doesn’t scare her or others who are “guided by hope.”

She’s also cautious about signing forms.

“I believe in God and I believe in the Ukrainian army,” she added. “This is my destiny.”

Analysts say Ukraine wants to move people out of the region to minimize civilian casualties and increase operational freedom.

Michael Clarke, professor of war studies at King’s College London, said Kyiv intends to launch a heavy defense of the main cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.

The Ukrainian military wants a strategic victory in the Russian-occupied south, Clark said. Clark said the rest of Donbass must not be lost for success there to have political repercussions.

Logically speaking, the withdrawal would allow Ukrainians to afford to defend or leave the city without regard for civilians, said Michael, intelligence director and geopolitical and security analyst at consulting firm Le Bec. A. Horowitz stated:

“Ukrainians have been asking people for refuge from the beginning, and the presence of civilians makes the job of the Ukrainian military much more difficult,” Horowitz said.

“Therefore, Zelensky’s order could be just an escalation in efforts to remove civilians from what has become a key area of ​​fighting,” Horowitz said.

Human rights group Amnesty International said in a much-criticized report released on Thursday that Ukrainian forces responded to Russian attacks by stationing them in schools, homes and other locations in populated areas. He said he had exposed people.

Zelensky condemned the report, as did other Kyiv officials and allies on social media.

“The Ukrainian military actions we have described in no way justify Russia’s routine violations of international humanitarian law,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“When we find violations of international humanitarian law, as in this case, we report them fairly and accurately. Ignoring violations committed by the favored side is not meaningful human rights reporting,” he said.

Volunteer Oleksandr Ivanov, who works for a local aid organization that helps evacuate, told NBC News that people want to stay for a variety of reasons.

“Many people cannot leave their aging parents,” said Ivanov. “It is psychologically difficult for older people to leave.

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