The sound of heavy bomb blasts have been reverberating around the pro-Russian held town of Donetsk.
People were forced to evacuate office buildings as government shells hit homes and a local hospital.
At least two people have been killed overnight.
Donetsk has been surrounded by the Ukraine military for several weeks now with Kyiv determined to end rebel resistance.
The civilians are being squeezed: “My son left, and now I am staying with my daughter. I don’t know what to do afterwards. Where am I going to run to after that please tell me,” said an anxious mother.
The Ukrainian army claims to have made inroads into Luhansk, another separatist stronghold in the east of the country.
The pro-Kremlin rebel leader in Luhansk, Valery Bolotov, has stood down citing a recent injury for his decision.
Two of the main pro-Russian entities, Donetsk and Luhansk, have lost leaders in the past seven days after Aleksander Borodai quit in Donetsk.
Kyiv says nine of its soldiers have been killed over the last 24 hours with 18 injured.