On Saturday, Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin stated in a video on Telegram that the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is completely under Russian control.

Ukraine, for its part, claims that fighting is still going on in the city. But Lieutenant Colonel Johan Huovinen attributes some credibility to Prigozhin's move because Wagner has put a lot of pressure on the Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut.

"It is probably the case that Ukraine has only controlled a few industrial buildings in the southwest of the city lately," he says.

"Some signal value"

If Bachmut ends up in Russian hands, however, it has no major military significance, according to Huovinen.

"As a geographical location, Bachmut probably does not play a role in a future Ukrainian offensive," he said.

"But there is a certain signal value for the Ukrainian side that they have lost a city that they have been fighting over since October.

In recent weeks, there have been several reports that Ukraine has advanced south and north of Bakhmut, while the Russian Wagner forces have gained ground in the city center.

"It's a little bit like Ukraine has managed to cut off the pincers that Russia has tried to do around Bachmut," Huovinen says.

"At the same time, Wagner has pushed in the middle, so you have almost levelled the front in some way instead of getting that bay that used to be.

Bachmut surrounded – by Ukraine?

At present, it is difficult to say what this development may lead to. According to Huovinen, one scenario would be that Ukraine continues to advance around Bachmut in order to encircle the city.

"Then we get a different resolution to this. But it will probably take a week or so before we see if this is the case," he says.

Hear Johan Huovinen about the development in Bachmut in the video player above.