Despite denials from Russian-appointed officials in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, there appear to be plans to evacuate civilians from several towns that are occupied by Russian forces.
The preparations come as Ukrainian forces step up targeting of Russian weapons and ammunition stocks behind the front lines.
One Zaporizhzhia community group posted the image of a notice in the town of Vasylivka, which is Russian-held and close to the only crossing point between Russian-claimed and Ukrainian-held territory.
The notice, in Russian, says: "Administration of Vasylivka district warns! Due to the preparations to possible evacuation of the residents of the city and the district, and ensuring safety to the citizens, the relevant measures are being prepared."
It also asks people to register with the local military administration.
Ivan Fedorov, the Ukrainian mayor of occupied Melitopol, claimed on his Telegram account that Russian forces in Vasylivka were becoming anxious and had "hidden behind civilians as human shields."
"People who were going from Zaporizhzhia to support their loved ones in the occupation zone were not allowed to pass at the checkpoint in Vasylivka. The occupiers left the civilians to spend the night on the roadside in sub-zero temperatures. They say they are afraid of shelling. So they put a convoy of civilian cars in front of their military base," he claimed.
Further behind the front lines, Fedorov said that Russian forces "have started some fuss in recent days" and were "developing rapid activity — withdrawing equipment, conducting rotation, bringing in mobilized soldiers."
Fedorov said on Telegram that population censuses were underway in two towns "as if to prepare for evacuations." But he cautioned that the move might be a disinformation campaign.
Fedorov also mentioned two explosions at Russian headquarters and barracks in the towns of Myrne and Yasne, though gave no further details.
He also claimed that near Terpinnia, a strike by the Ukrainian military killed or wounded "dozens" of Russian soldiers.
CNN is unable to verify the claim. No images or video have emerged from the area.
The Ukrainian military said Friday that in some parts of occupied Zaporizhzhia, "the enemy is strengthening its advanced positions and conducting defense" while launching artillery barrages along several parts of the front line.
But it added that "the enemy continues to suffer losses," with a strike against a concentration of Russian troops near the village of Kamianske that left 100 people wounded.
There is no way to verify the claim.