Ukrainian government forces are poised to regain control of the city of Donetsk from pro-Russian separatists.
Recent gains on the ground have split rebel fighters.
A spokesperson for the administration in Kyiv, Andriy Lysenko said: “Our forces have completely cut Donetsk off from Luhansk. We are working to liberate both cities but it’s better to liberate Donetsk first.”
The city is coming under sporadic shelling with hospitals and homes being hit, there are reports of civilian casualties.
Residents are having to seek shelter where they can: “We are hiding from the bombs. Why are we here? Shells are flying over our heads and people are dying. How many people from Donetsk have died? It’s horrible,” said one woman.
More than 1,300 people have lost their lives and 285,000 have fled the east of Ukraine since fighting broke out four months ago.