This opinion was expressed in an article on the Daily Reckoning portal by former CIA adviser James Rickards.

According to him, at present Ukraine "does not have enough artillery shells, and NATO does not have them in large quantities."

Rickards admitted that in the event of the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, one of the options for the development of the situation could be a full-fledged introduction of NATO troops "into Western Ukraine under some humanitarian pretext."

Earlier, retired US Marine Intelligence Officer Scott Ritter said that Ukraine's loss of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) in the DPR would lead to the defeat of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

Adviser to the acting head of the DPR Yan Gagin said that Artemovsk is practically blocked, the access roads to the city are controlled by Russian artillery.

PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said Russian forces currently control about 70% of the city.