Ukraine forces strike key link bridge in Russian-occupied south

The 1.4km bridge had already sustained serious damage last week



By AP

Published: Wed 27 Jul 2022, 12:20 PM

Ukrainian troops have struck a strategic bridge essential for Moscow to supply its forces occupying the country's south, as Russia pounded several areas in Ukraine with rocket and artillery strikes.

The Ukrainian military struck the Antonivskyi Bridge across the Dnieper River late on Tuesday, said Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration for the Kherson region. The bridge was still standing, but its deck was pierced with holes, stopping vehicles from crossing.

The 1.4km bridge sustained serious damage in Ukrainian shelling last week, when it took multiple hits. It was closed for trucks, but had remained open for passenger vehicles, until Tuesday's strike.

Ukrainian forces used the US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to hit the bridge, Stremousov said.

The bridge is the main link to the Dnieper River in the Kherson region. The only other option is a dam at the hydroelectric plant in Kakhovka, which also came under Ukrainian fire last week, but has remained open for traffic.

Knocking the crossings out would make it hard for the Russian military to keep supplying its forces in the region amid repeated Ukrainian attacks.

Early on in the war, Russian troops quickly overran the Kherson region— situated just north of the Crimean Peninsula— that it annexed in 2014. They have faced Ukrainian counterattacks, but have largely held their ground.

The Ukrainian attacks on the bridge in Kherson come as the bulk of the Russian forces are stuck fighting in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, Donbas, where they have made slow gains in the face of ferocious Ukrainian resistance. Supplies of US weapons like HIMARS have helped slow the Russian advances.

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that Russian military losses had climbed to nearly 40,000, adding that tens of thousands more were wounded and maimed. However, his claim couldn't be independently verified.

The Russian military last reported its losses in March, when it said that 1,351 troops were killed in action and 3,825 were wounded.

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