Russian forces have come very close to the railroad station in the center of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), with Ukrainian forces retreating to the Western part of the city, Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin announced Monday.
Meanwhile, Kiev claims that the city’s defense will be bolstered. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier said that Ukrainian troops would not surrender Artyomovsk and would fight for it as long as they could.
"Artyomovsk direction: […] right now, [Russian] forces have come almost right next to the rail station. The enemy is forced to retreat to the previously prepared positions in the Western part [of the city]," Pushilin said on Russian TV, adding that intense fighting is underway in downtown Artyomovsk.
According to Pushilin, Russian forces engage in "almost constant offensive," and took roads leading into the city under a tighter fire control.
According to TASS, Russian news agency, On Monday, Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin reported that Russian flag has been raised over the Artyomovsk city administration on Sunday evening.
Artyomovsk is located on the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic and was a major transportation hub for the Ukrainian army’s supplies in Donbass. Fierce fighting for the city is underway.
Yan Gagin, military-political expert and adviser to the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said on March 22 that the city had been practically sealed off by Russian forces and all approaches to Artyomovsk were under Russian artillery control. He earlier said that Russian forces controlled about 70% of the city.
Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin has repeatedly said that there is no evidence of the Ukrainian army’s plans to leave Artyomovsk.