'Overly-ambitious operational effort': Think tank analyses Russia's fight for Bakhmut
The head of Russia's Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced this week his mercenaries would begin handing over their positions in Bakhmut to the Russian Ministry of Defence after claiming complete control of the embattled city.
The ISW has described the battle as a "year-long drive" that began as part of a "theoretically sensible but overly-ambitious operational effort but ended as a purely symbolic gesture that cost tens of thousands of Russian casualties".
The think tank reported that the goal to seize Bakhmut was initially intended to facilitate Russian offensives to encircle large Ukrainian forces in the east and specifically to take the large and fortified cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from multiple directions.
It emphasised that Bakhmut was not a primary Russian objective during the early phases of the war.
Watch Euronews correspondent Sasha Vakulina's report in the video above.