The Battle of Bakhmut, which began as part of a larger effort by Russia to encircle the large Ukrainian forces in the east, has cost tens of thousands of Russian casualties and has become a symbol of Russia’s failed campaign. The capture of Bakhmut was meant to facilitate Russian offensives in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, but the battle lost its operational significance following successful Ukrainian counter-offensives in Jarkov. Despite this, Wagner mercenary forces have intensified their offensives in the city, likely to achieve informational and political objectives. The Institute for the Study of War reports that it is unclear whether the battle has truly ended, as Ukrainian forces continue to carry out local counterattacks. The decision to allow the battle to end or force it into a new phase now rests with Kiev, which gives Ukraine the initiative at all levels of the war on almost all fronts. On May 25, Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that the Grupo Wagner would withdraw from Bakhmut completely on June 1.