In attempting to take Bakhmut, Russian forces have used scorched earth tactics and turned the once-popular tourist destination into a hell-on-earth. The Kremlin is so hungry for any success that it's willing to go to any length to take the city — even if it's been turned to rubble.
If Russian forces take control of Bakhmut, it would be a devastating loss for Ukraine. Not only has Ukraine lost hundreds of troops in trying to retain the city, but this operation would also enable Russia to continue its advance into key areas of Donetsk including Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
There is a 3% chance that the regions surrounding the Dnipro River (Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kherson) will be under Russian control by June 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.