"The most vicious fighting is happening around Bakhmut and in the Donbas area," John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said at online briefing for foreign journalists, APA reports.
"It’s fighting that is largely being done by Mr. Prigozhin and the Wagner Group as they try to secure Bakhmut, and the Ukrainians are bravely fighting to resist that. Now, I don’t know where it’s going to go with Bakhmut, but even if the Russians are able to take the – they will not have achieved anything of strategic value.
And it’s difficult to say by what we’re seeing in the Donbas right now that this is some kind of major offensive. It’s a continuation of what we have seen over the last weeks and even months of what looks like a purely selfish desire by Mr. Prigozhin to take Bakhmut, perhaps because of the gypsum mines that are there. And he’s throwing ex-convicts into that fight. It’s difficult to look at that and say with any kind of degree of certainty that this represents some new Russian offensive."