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Kiev may send new recruits to cover Ukrainian retreat from Artyomovsk — DPR official

Yan Gagin said Ukrainian units in Artyomovsk are doomed

DONETSK, February 3. /TASS/. Ukraine could send mobilized recruits to cover the retreat of the main Ukrainian contingent from Artyomovsk, Yan Gagin, a military analyst from the Donetsk People’s Republic and an adviser to the interim head of the region, told TASS on Friday.

"They (Ukraine - TASS) will pull out the main units that will be most useful: commanders, foreign military specialists and the most valuable units. To cover the retreat, they will most likely send mobilized soldiers to guard the [city] hopelessly and simulate holding ground in the city just like in Soledar in recent days," he said.

Gagin said that a traditional retreat attempt was also possible. That option could be the most humane for Ukrainian troops, he said.

Gagin said Ukrainian units in Artyomovsk are doomed.

"Intelligence, interrogation of prisoners and conversations with the civilians that are leaving the place show that the Ukrainian group of forces is doomed. That’s clear from the rhetoric of foreign handlers. It won’t be long before the city will be surrounded. There are all the conditions for that. However, it’s too early yet to talk about a full encirclement of the city, about a full surrender of the city, contrary to what some experts are saying," he said.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing US and EU government officials, that Western countries are recommending that Kiev stall for time, build up its forces and wait for the pledged Leopard tanks so it can launch an offensive in the spring, even if it means sacrificing Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) at this point.