The head of Russia’s infamous Wagner mercenary group claims that the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut

The head of Russia’s infamous Wagner mercenary group claims that the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has been the site of devastating shelling and fighting over the past few months, is nearly surrounded with only one remaining escape route. Ukrainian fighters are continuing their battle.

On March 3, journalists from Reuters reported that a bridge in the nearby village of Khromove had been severely damaged and that Kremlin-backed forces were attempting to obstruct the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops by heavily shelling the road out of Bakhmut to the west.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with ties to the Kremlin and co-founder and owner of the Wagner mercenary group, stated in a video that “units of the private military company Wagner have practically surrounded Bakhmut.”

“Out of Bakhmut, there is only one remaining route. He continued, “The pincers are tightening.”

Reuters reported that Ukrainian fighters were digging in at defensive positions and were not yet ready to surrender the town, despite the fact that the claims could not be independently verified.

After repelling multiple waves of Russian attacks in the disputed city in the eastern Donetsk region, the Ukrainian military stated earlier on March 3 that intense fighting was taking place in Bakhmut.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian military stated in its daily report that the Ukrainian military fought off at least 85 Russian attacks in the direction of the cities of Lyman, Avdiyivka, and Shakhtarsk in Donetsk and in Kupyansk, in the northern Kharkiv region, in addition to Bakhmut, which has been the epicenter of the battle in the east for months.

Moscow has launched a new offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region, aiming to retaliate against Ukrainian forces in multiple locations, following the loss of some territory to Ukrainian forces in the second half of last year.

In an effort to encircle Bakhmut and cut Ukrainian supply lines, Russia has been firing waves of infantry at it.

WATCH: Ukrainian artillery units are retaliating against waves of assaults by Russian troops as Russia focuses on the industrial city.

Officials from Ukraine have suggested that if the city’s defense proves to be too costly, their troops might have to abandon Bakhmut altogether and move to new positions in the west and northwest, where Ukrainians are said to have much stronger defensive positions.

One of Ukraine’s National Guard commanders, Volodymyr Nazarenko, stated on Ukrainian radio that the situation in Bakhmut is “critical.”

Nazarenko stated that before withdrawing, the Ukrainian forces want to inflict as much damage on the Russian forces as possible.

Nazarenko stated, “The enemy loses hundreds of lives for every meter of Ukrainian land.”

The Russian push for Bakhmut has been questioned by Western experts, who claim that it has less strategic and symbolic significance for Russia.

The Ukrainian military reported that Russian forces continued overnight to shell civilian infrastructure, injuring civilians and causing damage.

“The adversary continues to break international humanitarian law. As a result, the occupiers targeted civilian infrastructure in the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson regions with 31 air strikes and three missile strikes. The military stated, “High-rise apartment buildings and private homes have been damaged, and civilians have been wounded.”

In the meantime, on March 3, the United States made the announcement that it would provide Ukraine with a new package of $400 million in military aid. During the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Washington, the new assistance was made public.

“Includes more ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS and howitzers, which Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself, as well as ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Armored Vehicle Launched Bridges, demolitions munitions and equipment, and other maintenance, training, and support,” stated Antony Blinken, Secretary of State.

Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, Washington has provided Ukraine with nearly $32 billion in military assistance.

Moscow claimed on March 2 that a group of Ukrainian saboteurs crossed into western Russia and fired on villages full of civilians. Kiev denied the claim, suggesting Moscow might be looking for a “false flag” excuse to launch new attacks on Ukraine.

It was unclear exactly what happened on March 2 near Bryansk, a city in the southwest.

Senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Mykhaylo Podolyak, described the Russian statements as a “classic deliberate provocation” in Kyiv.

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