Ukraine's armed forces said that Russian occupiers in a town in the southern Kherson region are telling locals where to evacuate in case Kiev violates the area.
The claim by Ukraine's General Staff comes amid a counter-offensive launched by Kiev forces, believed to have begun on June 4, aimed at retaking occupied territory.
In an update on Wednesday, Ukraine's General Staff said that in Henichesk, a port city along the Sea of Azov in the Kherson region, "partners are receiving SMS messages with detailed instructions and coordinates of evacuation points."
The town had a pre-war population of about 18,000 and is the administrative regional centre of the Moscow occupation from November 2022, after Russian forces withdraw from Kherson.
Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported the update from Kiev forces, saying that "the Russian occupiers are actively disseminating information about evacuation in case of a break-in by the Ukrainian armed forces."
This comes as British defence officials said on Wednesday that Russia has set up defensive lines in rear areas, especially on the approaches between Kherson and Crimea.
These include an extensive defense zone, 6 miles long and 2 miles wide, north of the city of Armiansk, on the narrow land bridge connecting the occupied peninsula with the Kherson region.
Russia's efforts to build such defensive systems suggest that Moscow believes that Ukrainian forces are capable of attacking Crimea directly and that the Kremlin considers control of the peninsula 'a top political priority'.
On Tuesday, Ukraine's General Staff of the Army said its forces were conducting offensive operations in at least two sectors of the front, on the administrative border between the Zaporizhzhya and Donetsk regions and in the western Zaporizhzhya region.
The Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) said on Tuesday that its Eastern Concentration Forces units repelled four Ukrainian attacks in those sectors. The previous day, Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar had said the Ukrainian advance was being hampered by Russian forces.
However, Kiev has stated that the current Ukrainian operations were not only aimed at liberating Russian-occupied territory and that it has not yet launched the main phase of its counter-offensive.