LUGANSK, February 1. /TASS/. Russian forces are engaged in fierce battles near the city of Artyomovsk, aiming to pincer the city and gain access to the city of Chasov Yar, Vitaly Kiselev, a colonel of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and a military expert, told TASS on Tuesday.
"In the Artyomovsk area: fierce fighting and a so-called pincer maneuver is under way near Artyomovsk, with subsequent access to Chasov Yar. The aim is to destroy artillery weapons, personnel and infantry of the Ukrainian armed forces, which are coming from Chasov Yar, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, and to disrupt logistical paths for delivery of ammunition and personnel to the area," he said.
In his words, battles in the Artyomovsk area are conducted by the Wagner private military company.
"There will be no rapid assaults [in the Artyomovsk area], <…>, but the artillery and the air force are in action today, with precision strikes being carried out. And, I think, attempts to deploy members of Azov [nationalist unit, outlawed in Russia] to the area will fail," he added.
According to Kiselev, Ukrainian commanders on the battlefield, and other top brass, including commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces Valery Zaluzhny, are trying to persuade Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to withdraw troops from Artemovsk.
"Apparently, they will start withdrawing them gradually at some point, leaving behind members of territorial defense squads with no combat experience," the analyst said.
Military and political expert Yan Gagin, who is also an adviser to the DPR leader, said on Tuesday the Russian forces were taking control of one community after another, advancing on the Artyomovsk front.
Russian forces have been fighting for control of Artyomovsk in recent months. Taking control of the city will make it possible for Russian forces to stage an offensive toward the DPR’s northern areas, Pushilin said earlier, adding that Ugledar is a major logistics hub providing supplies for Ukrainian units along the Maryinka direction, where shelling attacks on Donetsk are staged from.