Amid rising tensions, the evacuation of civilians from the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which is under the control of pro-Russian separatists, to Russia’s Rostov region continued late Sunday.

Anadolu Agency’s team of correspondents in the border region is following the evacuations that started over the weekend on grounds of “increased tensions” – cease-fire violations and shelling – in Donetsk and Lugansk.

At the Avilo-Uspensk entrance gate on the Russian-Ukrainian border, thousands of people, mostly elderly women and children, are being transferred by buses to be settled in tents and dormitories in camps established in various parts of the Rostov region.

Some of the evacuees are also being sent to different parts of Russia by train. Over 5,000 people were moved during the day to Voronezh, Belgorod, Bryansk, and Kursk regions.

Russia’s acting Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Chupriyan told reporters in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don that more than 53,000 people had been evacuated from Donbas so far. He added that as many as 30 regions are ready to accept the evacuees.

The West has accused Russia of amassing more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning a military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any plan to invade Ukraine and instead accused Western countries of undermining Russia’s security through NATO’s eastward expansion.

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