Separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to evacuate 700,000 people

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A woman walks to board a bus arranged to evacuate local residents, in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

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MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they planned to evacuate around 700,000 people to Russia from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).

Most DPR residents are Russian speakers and many have already been granted Russian citizenship.

Ukraine says the people who run the DPR are not separatists but Russian proxies, something the Kremlin denies.

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Reporting by Anton Zverev; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn

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