Ukraine: Footage shows damage to Antonivskyi Bridge
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Kherson was one of the first areas to fall to Russia when Moscow launched its invasion in February. The region holds significant symbolism for the invasion, with Ukrainian forces committing to retake the area by the autumn.
The MoD described this counter-offensive in the Kherson region as “gathering momentum”.
It added on Thursday morning: “Their forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the Ingulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson.”
The MoD pointed to Ukraine’s “new long-range artillery” as playing a crucial role in the counter-offensive, including HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket systems) supplied by the US.
HIMARS were used by Ukrainian forces to bomb the Antonovsky bridge, Russia’s main supply route in and out of the city of Kherson.
Kirill Stremousov, of the Russian-controlled authorities in the city, said that HIMARS were responsible for the attacks.
It does not appear that Russian anti-missile defences could deter the move from the Ukrainians.
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Tuesday: “HIMARS dealt another powerful blow to one of the two bridges, which are used by the invaders for a massive transfer of troops.
“Let’s hope that this time the Antonovsky Bridge will not withstand the power of the HIMARS missile attack.”
But President Zelensky said Ukraine would rebuild the bridge and supply routes, adding on Wednesday: “We are doing everything to ensure that the occupying forces do not have any logistical opportunities in our country.”
The MoD relayed a similar picture, detailing in its daily intelligence update: “Ukraine has used its new long-range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnipro River which Russia relies upon to supply the areas under its control.
“One of these, the 1000-metre long Antonovsky bridge near Kherson city, was damaged last week.
“Ukraine struck it again on 27 July 2022 and it is highly likely that the crossing is now unusable.”
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This left Russia’s 49th Army to the west of the Dnipro, “highly vulnerable”, the MoD said.
It continued: “Similarly, Kherson city, the most politically significant population centre occupied by Russia, is now virtually cut off from the other occupied territories.
“Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.”
Sergey Khlan, of the regional administration in Kherson, has previously told Ukrainian TV that resistance forces had reached a “turning point” in the counter-offensive.
He set a timeline to retake the key southern battleground, adding that the “Kherson region will definitely be liberated by September”.
He added: “We see that our armed forces are advancing openly.
“We can say that we are switching from defensive to counter-offensive actions.”
A Ukrainian soldier on the ground in the region then told the Telegraph: “We will win, it’s just a case of when.”
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