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Artyomovsk practically surrounded by Russian forces, says Wagner Group founder

In his appeal to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Yevgeny Prigozhin called for an unhindered exit for elders and children from the city

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russian forces have practically surrounded Artyomovsk, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military company, said in a video message to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Friday.

"The Wagner private military units have practically surrounded Bakhmut (the Ukrainian name for Artyomovsk - TASS), only one road is left," Prigozhin said in a video posted on his press service's Telegram channel.

In his appeal to Zelensky, Prigozhin called for an unhindered exit for elders and children from Artyomovsk. "Previously, the professional Ukrainian army fought against us, while today we are seeing more and more elders and children. They are fighting, but their life near Bakhmut is short: only a day or two. Please give them a chance to leave the city," he added.

In addition, the published video footage showed Ukrainian citizens, two young men and an elderly man, asking Zelensky to allow them to return home to their families.

Artyomovsk is located in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic and is an important transport hub for supplying the Ukrainian group of troops in Donbass. Fierce fighting is taking place for the city. Russian forces have taken control of a number of settlements on the outskirts of Artyomovsk, including Kleshcheevka, Podgorodnoye, Paraskoviyevka, Berkhovka and Yagodnoye.