MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut in Ukraine) has been fully sealed off by Russian forces and all the approaches to the city are under artillery control, Yan Gagin, military-political expert and adviser to the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said on Wednesday.
"The city is in operational encirclement, which means that all the approaches and all the transportation arteries leading to it are under the control of our artillery. In principle, it can be said that the city has been actually sealed off," he said in a live broadcast on the Rossiya-1 television channel.
Currently, Russian forces control about 70% of the Artyomovsk area. The Ukrainian garrison positioned in the city numbers about 10,000-strong personnel, he added.
Artyomovsk is located on the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic and is a major transportation hub for the Ukrainian army’s supplies in Donbass. Fierce fighting for the city is underway. Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin has repeatedly said that there is no evidence of the Ukrainian army’s plans to leave Artyomovsk. 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.