Ukraine eyes an end to the fighting for Bakhmut and a window for its counteroffensive.
The ISW believes that the Bakhmut defense remains strategically sound, as the Ukrainian Army continues to destroy Russian forces without suffering excessive casualties. In their opinion, the departure of Ukrainian troops from the city in the near future is unlikely. At the same time, a gradual, fighting withdrawal is a possibility, to exhaust the Russian Federation’s forces. US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin believes that the city of Bakhmut has a greater symbolic than strategic importance and that its capture by Russian troops will not necessarily mean an intensification of the invader’s offensive. ISW analysts predict that the fighting for Bakhmut will soon end, regardless of whether the occupiers take the city or not. Moreover, any further Russian offensive will be complicated by their lack of personnel and equipment. This will, in turn, open a window of opportunity for a Ukrainian counteroffensive.