Russian paramilitary group Wagner announced on March 8 that it had captured the eastern part of the city of Bakhmout, the epicenter of violent fighting over the past few months. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, this would give the Russian army a free path to advance further into eastern Ukraine. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) estimates that the Russian troops have “presumably” captured the eastern part of Bakhmout after a controlled withdrawal of Ukrainian forces. However, these statements have not been independently confirmed. Despite the Ukrainian defense, Russia has promised to fight until Bakhmout is captured, considering the city crucial to its offensive into Ukraine. The battle of Bakhmout is the longest and deadliest since the outbreak of the Russian offensive in February 2022. While the strategic value of the city is disputed, it has gained symbolic and tactical importance, given the heavy losses suffered by both sides. Ukrainian troops claim to be determined to hold the city, and reinforcements have been sent to the virtually destroyed city, despite recent Russian advances and the threat of encirclement.