President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has commented that the city of Bakhmut is managing to hold its own despite being in a precarious position.

Elizabeth Shackelford, from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, warned that Kyiv’s inability to make significant headway against the increasing Russian army might lead to a drawn-out war in which Putin would have the advantage.

Zelensky said in his nightly address that the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is holding its ground in the face of a ten-month-long conflict, regardless of the contrasting views on the Russian progress in the area. Russian military bloggers have proposed that the city is almost surrounded, which was denied by Ukraine. 

Even though most of the city has been demolished by Russian strikes, their defenders are strongly resisting the assaults. According to Western officials and analysts, Ukraine is likely to fulfill President Zelensky’s New Year’s commitment of regaining the entirety of Ukraine by the end of the year or at least reclaim sufficient land to eliminate the Russian threat. However, since around 100,000 Russian troops are entrenched in fortified positions, it will be challenging for Ukraine to make headway in 2023 compared to last year. According to Elizabeth Shackelford from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, if Kyiv cannot gain significant successes against this fortified Russian force, the war could become a prolonged dispute which would be advantageous to Putin.