Military analysts say Bakhmut has little strategic value. It is not a garrison town or a transport hub or a major centre of population. Before the invasion, there were about 70,000 people living there. The city was best known for its salt and gypsum mines and huge winery. It holds no particular geographic importance. As one Western official put it, Bakhmut is “one small tactical event on a 1,200-kilometre front line”.