Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Friday urged all “law-abiding and patriotic” residents of Bakhmut, also known as Artyomovsk, to evacuate from the city immediately.
“I appeal to the civilians who are still in Bakhmut. If you are adequate, law-abiding and patriotic citizens, you must evacuate immediately,” she wrote on Telegram.
The official said that about 6,000 people were still in the city, stormed by Russian forces, adding that by staying they put themselves and their loved ones in danger.
“Second, you are creating additional problems and risks for all those people who are trying to help you (the military, the national police, volunteers). Third, you prevent our defense and security forces from working normally in the city. Because they have to be concerned about your safety all the time. Therefore, I once again urge you to evacuate immediately,” Vereshchuk said.
Bakhmut is considered of strategic importance. Russian forces gained ground in the city’s northern part and blocked three out of four routes supplying Ukrainian troops since last Friday. Earlier this week, media reported that Ukrainian archival documents were being evacuated from Bakhmut.