Donetsk, Mar 3 — DAN. “Wagner” private military company units have practically encircled Artyomovsk, PMC Head Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Friday.

“I’m addressing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky: Wagner” PMC units have practically surrounded Bakhmut (Artyomovsk), leaving just one road, ” Prigozhin said in a video address posted by his press service. “The pincer movement is tightening.”

“Whereas we’ve fought against a professional army before, today we see an increasing number of old people and children, they do fight, but their life in Bakhmut is short: a day or two days. Give them the opportunity to leave the town, it’s practically encircled, ” he said.

The video shows several Ukrainian servicemen appealing to Zelensky to order Artyomovsk troops withdrawal.

Artyomovsk is a large district center and a fortified area of the Ukrainian army north of Gorlovka. It has been occupied by Ukrainian forces since 2014. The prewar Artyomovsk had machine building, metallurgical and construction companies. The Artyomovsk Champagne Wines Factory is one of the largest in Eastern Europe. Fierce fighting for the town has continued for several months. Western military experts and politicians said Ukrainian army manpower losses had run into thousands.*jk