Ukraine's new President Petro Poroshenko has ordered the creation of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape the war-ravaged east for other parts of the country.
"In order to avoid new victims in the zone of the anti-terrorist operation, the president has ordered the responsible ministers to bring about all necessary conditions for civilians who want to leave," his office said in a statement.
Mr Poroshenko has ordered his government to provide transportation as well as food and medical supplies for local officials to be able to handle the expected inflow of displaced persons.
The decision was made public after the president met with senior decision makers including the ministers of the interior and defence.
Ukrainian forces have carried out a military operation since mid-April to suppress a pro-Russian rebellion in the east of the country, with more than 200 combatants and civilians killed so far.