Russian forces, consisting of mercenaries from the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), have taken control of most of the eastern part of the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast over the past four days, and the front line now runs through its centre along the Bakhmutka River.
Source: UK Defence Intelligence review, as reported by European Pravda
Details: UK Intelligence notes that the Ukrainian Armed Forces hold the western part of Bakhmut and have destroyed key bridges over the Bakhmutka River, "which runs through north-south through a strip of open ground 200m-800m wide, between built up areas".
"With Ukrainian units able to fire from fortified buildings to the west, this area has become a killing zone, likely making it highly challenging for Wagner forces attempting to continue their frontal assault westwards," the UK MoD stated
At the same time, UK Intelligence notes that Ukrainian forces and their supply lines west of Bakhmut remain vulnerable to constant attempts by Russian forces to outflank the defenders from the north and south.
Bakhmut has been the scene of the fiercest fighting in Ukraine in recent months. The Ukrainian command decided not to retreat from the city, explaining that this defence would allow them to exhaust the most capable Russian forces.
Background: At the same time, as previously noted by UK Defence Intelligence, the Ukrainian defence of Bakhmut continues to degrade the forces on both sides.
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said regarding the Ukrainian defence of Bakhmut that the city may fall into Russian hands in the coming days. Still, it would not necessarily be a turning point in the war.