Russian forces and the private military company Wagner Group appear to be preparing to step up their offensive in Bakhmut, a Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Donetsk region. The US government says that it may impose sanctions on the group.
Britain's defense ministry released an analysis on Saturday that suggested the opposing forces are advancing and retreating on three frontlines, creating "a state of deadlock."
It says Ukrainian troops are moving forward with the goal of taking back the Russian-controlled city of Kreminna in the eastern region of Luhansk, while shelling continues in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, where forces from both sides are facing off.
Concerning the battle in Bakhmut, the ministry says "Russian and Wagner proxy forces have likely been reconstituting in the town of Soledar, after capturing it earlier in the week."
The Wagner Group appears to be attempting to make known its presence by deploying scores of fighters in Bakhmut.
The US government and Britain's defense ministry said on Friday that the group has sent more than 50,000 fighters to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the White House criticized North Korea for providing weapons to the group for use in Ukraine. It released satellite photos of railcars it says are loaded with weapons.
The US government also says it will designate the Wagner Group as a Transnational Criminal Organization that is committing atrocities and human rights abuses in Ukraine.