According to a White House official, the struggle for Bakhmut is unfinished, and Ukraine is still battling hard for the town.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council of the United States, told reporters on Monday that Ukrainians have not been expelled from the city and that an extra assistance package for Ukraine will likely be delivered this week.
His comments came hours after Ukraine stated that Russian forces were "very far" from seizing Bakhmut and that fighting was raging near the city government building, where the Wagner Group claimed to have raised the Russian flag.
"Bakhmut is Ukrainian, and they have not captured anything and are extremely far from doing so," Serhiy Cherevatiy, a spokesman for the eastern military command, told Reuters via phone.
The Wagner Group, which has led the attack on Bakhmut, claimed capture of the city's town hall earlier on Monday. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not confirmed complete control of the town.
The struggle for the industrial city of Bakhmut has become the longest and bloodiest in Russia's year-long offensive against Ukraine. Most of Bakhmut's estimated 70,000 prewar residents abandoned the town in 2022.
According to the Ukrainian military, it is difficult to determine how many civilians remain in Bakhmut, with estimates ranging from 1,000 to 5,000.
Finland Joins NATO
In the meantime, Finland will officially join NATO on Tuesday, according to the office of the Finnish president.
Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, "We will welcome Finland as our 31st member tomorrow."
According to reports, Russia will bolster its military capabilities in response to Finland's accession to NATO.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the RIA Novosti news agency, "We will bolster our military potential in the western and northwestern directions."
We will take additional actions to protect Russia's military security if NATO personnel and resources are deployed in Finland.
Finland's border with Russia is 1,300 kilometres (810 miles) long, roughly trebling the military alliance's border with Moscow.
In Slovakia, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Slovakia urged the European Union to exert "targeted pressure" on the Kremlin by maintaining sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine last year.
In the western Slovak city of Trencin, the Czech and Slovak governments, led by Petr Fiala and Eduard Heger, respectively, convened.
Premiers said, "The EU and its partners must maintain targeted pressure on the Russian Federation and fully implement the sanctions."
In addition, allies should "prevent sanctions evasion and create mechanisms to punish those responsible for crimes related to this aggression," according to the statement.