Ukraine forces still cling to Bakhmut’s western edge despite dire warnings from Washington that they would not be able to hold the city against an onslaught of Russian mercenaries. As early as January, Washington warned Ukraine of the potential encirclement of their forces in Bakhmut and suggested Kyiv should let the city go.
These warnings have largely been ignored. Kyiv argued holding Bakhmut is needed to maintain national morale and deny Russia boasting right over a territorial gain. Ukraine has said prolonging this fight has hindered Russia’s strength.
While the defense strategy of the city so far has succeeded, the front line has become increasingly unstable in recent days, according to commanders. Moscow has said capturing the town will lay the groundwork for taking control of the entire Donetsk region in Ukraine.