The head of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region said Tuesday that he was ordering children and their guardians to evacuate from several frontline towns and villages as Russian forces were advancing.

The Kremlin said nearly two years ago that it had annexed the industrial region, and Russian forces have focused their firepower there in recent months.

"It was decided to conduct a forced evacuation of children with their parents or other legal representatives," Governor Vadym Filashkin said on social media, listing several villages near where Russian forces have been gaining ground.

Filashkin has been urging civilians to flee the region over recent weeks because of an increase in deadly Russian bombardments.

President Volodymyr Zelensky had urged Ukrainians to leave the war-battered region shortly after the beginning of Russia's invasion in February 2022, though the recommendations were not enforced.

Filashkin's announcement came several hours after he announced the death of one person in the south of Donetsk from Russian attacks. Four more were wounded in the frontline town of Toretsk, he said.

Donetsk and the neighbouring region of Lugansk have been partially occupied by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.