Yeah this is an odd situation, I expected Ukraine retreat a long while ago. Maybe it's just too good of an opportiny to wear out Russian army and resources? A more unpleasant possibility could be Ukraine is desperately holding on because Russia would advance to burn down other cities as well.
But did US officials tell them abandon Bakhmut or advice not to send too much resources there? I'd agree they shouldn't defend Bakhmut at the expense of possible large counter-offensive.
Anyway, let's hope and trust Ukraine knows what it's doing.
I feel the worst scenario would be Ukraine holding onto it for political reasons...There's been a big dance made about Bakhmut from Russia/Wagner and Ukraine have been holding out for months, so they maybe don't want to give Russia that "win" now, I hope that isn't the case.
There is talks about Wagner sending skilled fighters to Bakhmut and throwing everything they have at it and looking at Russia being smashed everywhere else such as Vuhledar, it could be an opportunity to get rid of some of Russia's more skilled troops.
US officials IIRC basically expressed concern that Ukraine was using too much resources to hold onto Bakhmut, I think reading between the lines they would want Ukraine to abandon Bakhmut for more easily defended positions and think the cost/benefit is too small in holding onto Bakhmut.
It's worrying, I just hope they abandon it before encirclement, I would hate to see Ukraine troops get trapped in there, for now there is still a route out but it's growing smaller everyday.
Ukraine is still building up forced around Zaporizhzhia so I'm hopeful it won't affect a counteroffensive there.