– The mayor of Dnipro in central-eastern Ukraine urged women, children and the elderly on Thursday to leave the city because the conflict with Russia is expected to intensify in eastern regions.
The recommendation follows similar warnings by the authorities in the Luhansk region, which is east of Dnipro. The regional governor of Luhansk urged all residents on Wednesday to evacuate while they still could in relative safety.
Ukraine says Russian troops that invaded on Feb. 24 are regrouping and preparing for a new offensive in the Donbas area, which includes both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
“The situation in the Donbas is gradually heating up, and we understand that April will be rather intense,” said Dnipro Mayor Borys Filatov in an online video address.
“All those who have the ability, as I have already said, should leave. This involves women, children, the elderly, those who are not… directly integrated into the economy.”
Dnipro, which usually has a population of nearly 1 million people, has so far been spared the worst of the fighting that has devastated cities further east and south such as Mariupol.
Russia has denied targeting civilians and calls the invasion a “special military operation.”