The town of Avdiivka in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk is coming under heavy attacks by Russian artillery and rocket systems, according to the head of the local military administration.
Avdiivka, a town with a large smelting plant just north of Donetsk, has been shelled persistently since the Russian invasion began. However, in recent weeks Russian ground attacks in the area have intensified.
Some Ukrainian officials have said that the town could become a second Bakhmut, the mostly abandoned city where Ukrainian and Russian forces have fought for weeks to what is, at this moment, a bloody stalemate.
Local official Vitalii Barabash told CNN that "the situation is really changing."
"There is more shelling, more massive shelling, more rocket attacks on the town. The number of assault operations around the town is also increasing many times over. There is more shelling of positions, more rocket attacks, more air and missile attacks, both in the city and on positions," Barabash said.
Fighting along the city's outskirts: Barabash said there had been massive shelling of the central part of the town late Tuesday. The rest of the night, he said, was "relatively calm."
However, the defense line around the city was "shelled all night."
"There was heavy shelling, and small arms fighting was going on in all directions, from the south and the north."
Geolocated social media videos over the past week indicate that Russian forces have moved closer to access routes from Avdiivka to the north and west.
Barabash said that on Wednesday morning there were more shelling and artillery attacks, killing one woman.
Evacuation difficulties: Civilian evacuations are continuing but the way out of town is a "road of death," with the stretch of road monitored by Russian troops who "immediately open fire" Barabash said.
He added that 180 people left the town in the last three weeks and Ukrainian officials estimate that there are some 2,000 people left in Avdiivka. Among them, according to Barabash, are six children. One child evacuated Tuesday, and authorities plan to evacuate another one on Wednesday.