The Ukrainian authorities on Thursday started a mandatory evacuation from the frontline city of Kupyansk in Ukraine's eastern Kharkiv region and the settlements surrounding it, reported Xinhua.
The forced evacuation order has been given due to the challenging security situation and constant shelling, the Kupyansk city military administration said in a post on Telegram.
According to the Ukrayinska Pravda media outlet, the evacuation will be carried out in 37 settlements in the Kupyansk district.
Earlier in the day, Oleh Synehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration, said that Russian forces hit Kupyansk with a guided FAB-250 aerial bomb overnight Thursday, damaging the city council building.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the pullout of Russian forces from the territory of Ukraine is a condition for starting peace talks with Russia, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported Thursday.
"We can negotiate with Russia after the withdrawal of their troops from our lands," Kuleba said.
He ruled out the possibility of direct talks between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting that Kiev sees "diplomatic ways to deal with the issues indirectly."
Last week, security advisors and representatives from some 40 countries met in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah to work out a solution to the Ukraine crisis.