Ukrainian fighters are now withdrawing from the frontlines of the battered industrial town of Bakhmut or the Artyomovsk region in Donetsk in numbers ranging from five to ten, Bakhmut's deputy mayor Oleksandr Marchenko told American broadcaster, CNN. “The enemy blows everything to the ground, strikes at multi-story buildings, and the residential sector. There are air raids, artillery shelling, and mortar shelling," the deputy mayor said in televised remarks. Russia's PMC Wagner fighters are striking the fortress city "with everything they can," said Marchenko. The latter informed that approximately 4,000 to 4,500 people are still in Bakhmut while the town has nearly been entirely evacuated.
“There is no way we can get there," Bakhmut's deputy mayor Oleksandr Marchenko said, referring to the intense battle ongoing in the town situated in Donetsk.
Footages from Bakhmut depicted that Ukraine's military has been repelling a string of attacks despite the claims circulated by Russia's Wagner that the entire besieged town has been "practically encircled." Over the past 24 hours, Ukraine's military personnel have been fighting the mercenary forces that have declared that the Bakhmut has been completely surrounded and that only one road was operative. Footages circulating on the Wagner PMC Telegram channels showed that the bridge over the Bakhmutka River was destroyed by the retreating Ukrainian forces and that there was no longer an exit to the city.
Wagner's chief E.V. Prigozhin, in a video address from the besieged city, asked Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to "save his soldiers, who would be killed if they did not surrender" in Bakhmut. In a video published on the PMC Wagner's press service on Telegram, Prigozhin said that Bakhmut was "almost completely surrounded" by Wagner fighters, confirming the reports that the heavily destroyed fortress city during a months-long battle was totally encircled. "The Wagner paramilitary group units have practically surrounded Bakhmut, only one road remains to leave the city," Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said, calling on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "to abandon the city immediately."
While the PMC hasn't officially declared that the city which is now completely encircled may not have fallen, the capture of the strategic Bakhmut will give Russian fighters the upper hand to press into the Slovyansk and Kramatorsk in the Ukrainian-held portions of the Donbas area.