BERLIN -- The Nazi High Command reported in a special communique today that the encirclement of Leningrad has been completed.
The High Command's statement was contained in a special communique from Adolf Hitler's Field Headquarters on the Eastern Front.
The High Command reported that the River Neva which flows through Leningrad from the southeast had been reached "on a broad front."
Mobile units of the German army, it reported, smashed through the strong line of Russian defenses to the Neva, capturing the town of Schlisselburg, railroad center through which pass the lines linking Leningrad with the rest of Russia.
Thus, said the High Command, the ring around Leningrad has been closed and the city is cut off from all communication by land.
Meanwhile, Finnish troops were said to have advanced down the narrow peninsula between Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, blocking off access to Leningrad from the east.
The High Command said that Schlisselburg, less than 20 miles outside Leningrad proper, had been stormed by crack German units.
Wile the Nazi air force pounded relentlessly at Russian defense lines, railroads and highways outside the former Czarist capital, the Finns pushed eastward and cut the Leningrad-Murmansk railroad and blocked the entire Karelian Isthmus, the Nazis said.
Dive-bombers and level bombers poured hundreds of bombs on the Russian position before Leningrad.
The Nazi air force, however, was reported active all along the Eastern Front, bombing the Russian air bases at Kharkov and Bryansk and carrying out a big raid on Odessa. The island of Osel, off Estonia, and areas around Lake Ladoga, north of Leningrad, where the Finns were reported to have advanced to the River Svir, also were bombed.
The Nazi air force reported that bombers sank a 10,000-ton Russian steamship, set fire to another of 6,000 tons and damaged a third ship in an attack in the Black Sea west of Crimea.