Us Rocket System Enables Ukraine to Pummel Key Supply Bridge!
Ukrainian troops used American-supplied precision rocket launchers to knock out a strategic bridge used by Russia to supply its forces in southern Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region, officials said Wednesday.
Ukraine also claimed to have destroyed an enemy ammunition depot, artillery pieces and other military equipment in the region, killing 51 members of the Russian army. There was no immediate confirmation from the Russian side.
The Antonivskyi Bridge over the Dnieper River was attacked Tuesday night, said Kirill Stremousov, who is the deputy head of the government for the Kherson region that was put in place by Moscow. He said that the bridge was left standing, but that holes in the deck made it impossible for cars to cross the 1.4-kilometer (0.9-mile) span.
After previous Ukrainian attacks damaged the bridge last week, it was closed to trucks but stayed open for passenger vehicles until the latest attack.
In the past few days, Russian forces have shelled more cities and villages in eastern Ukraine and increased airstrikes in the south. At the same time, the Ukrainians are stepping up their attacks against the Kremlin’s troops in the Kherson region, which Moscow took early in the war.
Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to target the bridge, Stremousov said. A Ukrainian military spokesperson, Nataliya Gumenyuk, told Ukrainian TV that “surgical strikes” were carried out on the bridge.
The Smerch, Uragan, and Tornado rocket launchers made by the Soviet Union are used by both Russia and Ukraine. However, the HIMARS has a longer range, is much more accurate, and fires faster. Since the Russians invaded on February 24, the West has given Ukraine billions of dollars in military aid, which has helped Ukraine fight back against the Russians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia has lost nearly 40,000 soldiers in the war and that tens of thousands more were wounded. His claim could not be independently verified. The Russian military last reported its losses in March, when it said 1,351 troops had been killed.
Turkey’s defense minister said preparations were underway for the resumption of grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Russia and Ukraine signed agreements last week to free up millions of tons of grain trapped by the fighting, potentially easing the global food crisis.
Ukrainian emergency officials say that at least two civilians were killed and three more were hurt when Russian forces shelled a hotel in the eastern city of Bakhmut. The Russian offensive in the area has been aimed at Bakhmut.
Even though stopping traffic on the Dnieper River bridge doesn’t make much of a difference in Russia’s military operation as a whole, the attack was a morale-booster for the Ukrainians.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter that the “occupiers should learn how to swim across” the Dnieper or “leave Kherson while it is still possible.” “There may not be a third warning,” he tweeted.
The bridge is the main way for people in the Kherson area to cross the Dnieper River. The only other option is a dam at a hydroelectric plant in Kakhovka, which was also hit by Ukrainian fire last week but has stayed open.
If the crossings were destroyed, it would be hard for the Russian military to keep sending supplies to its troops in the area.
Since the invasion five months ago, Russia has been shelling civilian areas without being careful about where they hit.
On Wednesday, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk, which is in the east-central part of the country, said that Russian forces used artillery to hit two areas. Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko said that the shelling hurt a woman in the town of Marhanets and caused damage to several apartment buildings, a hospital, and a school.
“Chaotic shelling has no other goal but to sow panic and fear among the civilian population,” he said.
Most of the Russian forces are fighting in the Donbas, which is the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine. They have been making slow progress there because the Ukrainians are fighting back very hard.
They have taken some ground northeast of Bakhmut, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank. But it said Russian forces are unlikely to occupy significant additional territory in Ukraine before early autumn.