(QHA) -

The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) has asked residents Donetsk and Luhansk, strongholds for pro-Russian separatists, to leave the cities through the corridors arranged by Ukrainian government troops, because of the planned  assault .

NSDC information and analytical center spokesman Andriy Lysenko said this at a briefing in Kyiv on Monday.

"We ask civilians to temporarily leave these cities, because an operation on their release and the destruction of terrorists will be held there," - Lysenko said. 

He said that Ukrainian government forces were ready to assist local residents who wish to temporarily leave their homes.

"We are ready to provide all possible vehicles for the removal of people from these populated localities," Lysenko said, adding Ukrainian army was not conducting and would not conduct artillery attacks against populated localities.

Heavy fighting continues between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine.