We're holding the line: Bakhmut soldier on Ukraine TV

STORY: The U.S. government says that if the Ukrainian city falls, that it would not necessarily give Moscow momentum in the war.

Russia's winter offensive has produced no notable gains, failing to seize ground in Luhansk province further north and taking heavy losses in particular around Vuhledar to the south.

The Institute for War Studies think-tank said it was still not clear whether Ukraine would pull out of Bakhmut or stay on to continue wearing down the Russian force. Either way, Moscow's offensive appeared to be reaching its high-water mark.