Russian troops have continued to make small advances in an attempt to encircle embattled Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk Oblast, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Feb. 4.
In its daily intelligence update, the ministry pointed out that the two main roads into Bakhmut are likely threatened by direct fire following the Russian advances.
The Kremlin-backed mercenary Wagner Group highly likely seized a subordinate route that links Bakhmut and Siversk, some 30 kilometers to the north.
“While multiple alternative cross-country supply routes remain available to Ukrainian forces, Bakhmut is increasingly isolated,” the ministry said.
The Wagner Group, Russia's most high-profile mercenary group, has played a leading role in the battles in the Bakhmut area alongside the Russian military, using thousands of poorly trained convicts recruited to fight against Ukraine.
The mercenary group has been accused of human rights abuses in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Mozambique, including torture and extrajudicial killings.