Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said more than one million people have been evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since February 24, news agency Reuters reported. 

The figures include more than 1 lakh foreigners and people evacuated from Donetsk and Luhansk, which are to be Russia-backed regions. These are the two areas recognised by Russia just days before it launched a full-scale invasion more than two months ago. 

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Lavrov said 2.8 million people in Ukraine have asked to be evacuated into Russia. Ukraine has said that Moscow has forcefully deported thousands of people to Russia.

Efforts to evacuate civilians from some front-line areas, including the besieged southern port of Mariupol, have repeatedly broken down, with both Russia and Ukraine blaming the other.

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“If the United States and NATO are “truly” interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, they should stop sending weapons to Kyiv,” Lavrov said.

“By publicly expressing support for the Kyiv regime, the NATO countries are doing everything to prevent ending of the operation through political agreements,” he added.

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The fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces have entered the 66th day. Reuters reported that the Russian offensive has slowed down because of a strong Ukrainian resistance.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of trying to destroy Donbas and the people who live there.

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“The constant brutal bombardments, the constant Russian strikes on infrastructure and residential areas show that Russia wants to empty this territory of all people. Therefore, the defence of our land, the defence of our people, is literally a fight for life,” news agency AP quoted the president as saying.