Prigozhin: the Russian military is 1.2 km from the administrative center of Artemovsk
The Russian military is located 1.2 km from the administrative center of Artemovsk (the Ukrainian name is Bakhmut), said the founder of Wagner PMC Yevgeny Prigozhin. A video recording with his words was published in the Telegram channel of the press service.
“Near the five-story building where the smoke comes from is the building of the city administration, the administrative center of the city. It is 1 km and 200 m away,” Prigozhin said.
On March 11, he reported that the Ukrainian military was preparing a counteroffensive in the Artemovsk region, and added that “everything possible is being done to prevent this from happening.” Earlier on the same day, Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, said that the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine could begin within the next two months.
Fighting near Artemovsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has been going on for several months. In mid-February, Igor Kimakovsky, adviser to the acting head of the DPR, spoke about taking all the heights in the vicinity of Artemovsk. At the end of the month, he reported fighting almost in the center of the city.
On March 7, the DPR claimed that Russian forces controlled almost half of Artemovsk, and Prigozhin on the same day said that there were between 12,000 and 20,000 Ukrainian troops in the city. He stressed that “heavy battles are going on for Artemovsk, but the Ukrainians are not running anywhere.”
On March 8, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, before a meeting of EU defense ministers, which was held in Stockholm, said that Artemovsk could come under the control of Russian troops in the coming days.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier that the Armed Forces of Ukraine would not defend the city “at any cost.” On March 1, the “strategic retreat” of the Ukrainian army from Artemovsk was allowed by the adviser to the President of Ukraine on economic issues, Alexander Rodnyansky. But on March 6, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Valeriy Zaluzhny and Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrsky supported the continuation of defensive battles in the city.