Russian forces continue to invest a large part of their overall military effort and firepower along the 15-kilometer front line around the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Moscow’s plan appears to be to encircle the city, with tactical advances to the north and south, explains the British Ministry of Defense in the usual daily update on the progress of the war in Ukraine. In recent days, Russia has most likely made “limited progress on the southern axis of this offensive,” in which it seeks to consolidate limited bridgeheads west of the Bakhmutka River swampy terrain. Russia has been giving priority to Bakhmut since the beginning of last August. The capture of the city would have limited operational value even if it would potentially allow Moscow to threaten the more significant urban areas of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk. “However, the campaign was disproportionately expensive in relation to the possible benefits. There is a realistic possibility that the capture of Bakhmut has become primarily a symbolic political objective,” he concludes.