US rocket system enables Ukraine to destroy key supply bridge

0

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian troops used precision rocket launchers supplied by the United States to destroy a vital bridge used by Russia to supply its forces in an occupied region of southern Ukraine, reports said. officials on Wednesday.

The Antonivskyi Bridge over the Dnieper was attacked on Tuesday evening, according to Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration for the Kherson region. The bridge remained standing, but holes in its deck prevented vehicles from crossing the 1.4 kilometer (0.9 mile) span, he said.

After previous Ukrainian attacks damaged the bridge last week, it was closed to trucks, but remained open to passenger vehicles until the latest strike.


In recent days, Russian forces have stepped up their shelling of towns and villages in eastern Ukraine while stepping up airstrikes in the south. At the same time, Kremlin troops are facing increasing Ukrainian counterattacks in the Kherson region, which was captured by Moscow at the start of the war.

Ukrainian forces used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to target the bridge, Stremousov said. A Ukrainian military spokeswoman, Nataliya Gumenyuk, told Ukrainian television that “surgical strikes” had been carried out on the bridge.

The HIMARS has greater range, much more accuracy and a faster rate of fire than the Soviet-designed Smerch, Uragan and Tornado rocket launchers used by both Russia and Ukraine. The weapons were part of billions of dollars in Western military aid that has helped Ukraine fight the Russians since the Feb. 24 invasion.

In other developments:

— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia had lost nearly 40,000 soldiers in the war and that tens of thousands more had been injured. His claim could not be independently verified. The Russian military last reported its losses in March, when it said 1,351 soldiers had been killed.

– Turkey’s Defense Minister said preparations are underway for the resumption of grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Russia and Ukraine signed agreements last week to release millions of tons of grain trapped in the fighting, potentially easing the global food crisis.

– At least two civilians were killed and three injured when Russian forces shelled a hotel in the eastern town of Bakhmut, Ukrainian emergency authorities said. Bakhmut has been at the center of the Russian offensive in the region.

While the traffic stoppage on the Dnieper Bridge only makes a small dent in the overall Russian military operation, the attack was a morale-boosting victory for Ukrainians.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter that “the occupiers should learn to swim” across the Dnieper or “leave Kherson while still possible”. “There may not be a third warning,” he tweeted.

The bridge is the main crossing over the Dnieper in the Kherson region. The only other option is a dam at a hydroelectric plant in Kakhovka, which also came under Ukrainian fire last week but remained open.

Bringing down the crossings would make it difficult for the Russian military to continue supplying its forces in the region.

The precise targeting of the bridge contrasted with Russia’s indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas since the invasion five months ago.

The governor of Dnipropetrovsk in the east-central part of the country said on Wednesday that Russian forces hit two areas with artillery. Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said a woman was injured in the town of Marhanets and several apartment buildings, a hospital and a school were damaged by shelling.

“The chaotic shelling has no other purpose than to sow panic and fear among the civilian population,” he said.

The bulk of Russian forces are fighting in the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine, known as Donbass, where they have made slow progress in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.

They took ground northeast of Bakhmut, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank. But Russian forces are unlikely to occupy significant additional territory in Ukraine before early fall.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian war on https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


Source link

Share.

Comments are closed.