As Bakhmut buckles, Zelensky must be free to speak on the world stage
The capture of approximately two kilometres of territory by Ukraine around the ruined city of Bakhmut may not sound like a very significant military breakthrough, but it is of huge symbolic significance.
Fought over with a tenacity on both sides unusual even by the extreme standards of this most pitiless of wars, Bakhmut has taken on some of the status of Stalingrad during the Second World War; piles of rubble that neither side can afford to give up for fear of losing face and damaging morale both on the frontlines and on the home front.
Moscow believes that Bakhmut is the gateway to an advance into much more significant territory in Donetsk, such as Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. A sustained loss of territory would cause embarrassment, with it coming as Ukraine is growing in power and confidence with the assistance of Western armaments.