Pentagon: Bakhmut’s Fall Won’t Imply Russia’s Victory


The city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine has become a symbolically important target for Russian forces, according to United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. While fighting around the city has intensified in recent weeks, Austin said that its capture would not necessarily signal a shift in momentum for Russia’s year-long war effort in the region. The city has a pre-war population of around 70,000 and its capture would represent a significant victory for Moscow, which has called up hundreds of thousands of reservists in its costly winter offensive. However, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which is leading the battle for Bakhmut, has complained that his forces lack ammunition, blaming possible “betrayal” by the Russian defence ministry.