Ukrainian forces attacked two key bridges of strategic importance to Russia in the southern part of Ukraine on Wednesday, on Ukraine’s Independence Day, officials said.
Ukrainian forces hit both Kakhovka Bridge and Antonovsky Bridge near occupied Kherson. Ukraine has launched a counter-offensive against a city captured by Russia early in the war.
The attacks come as Ukraine marks 31 years since its independence from the Soviet Union.
Kherson region has been almost entirely under Russian military control since early March when it became the first major city captured by Russian forces since the start of the war.
“Our aircraft carried out four strikes against enemy manpower, weapons and equipment concentrations in the Berislav district, in particular on air defense systems in Nova Kakhovka,” Ukraine’s Operational Command South said on Facebook.
The command said Ukrainian missile and artillery units attacked the bridge as part of a fire mission.
“The command and observation point of the battalion tactical group of the 33rd motorized rifle regiment and the 7th military base were hit,” the command added.
Kirill Stremosov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson military-civilian administration, was quoted by state-owned media as saying that Ukraine’s armed forces used a US-supplied HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) attack on the Antonovsky bridge near Kherson on Wednesday. ).
Stremosov, a senior pro-Moscow official, told the TASS news agency that Russia’s air defenses worked, but took few hits.
“There was a shelling attempt, two holes were plugged, but the bridge was intact, the air defense worked. HIMARS again,” said Stremosov, adding that the bridge structure was not damaged.
Newsweek News of the latest strike was not able to be independently verified.
Ukraine has targeted both bridges multiple times using high-precision munitions.
Antonovsky Bridge is significant because it is the only road bridge connecting Kherson, which is on the west side of the Dnipro River, and a part of the Kherson region on the other side. It is the main crossing on the Dnipro and is the main route for Russia to supply its forces occupying the southern regions of Ukraine.
The Kakhovka Bridge over the Nova Kakhovka Dam is also important to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military as it was used to transport military equipment to the region. In an August 12 Facebook post detailing earlier strikes on the bridge, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said it was the last bridge connecting the right and left banks.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense assessed on Tuesday that Russia is preparing to build a floating bridge to continue transporting supplies along the southern front.
Newsweek The Russian Foreign Ministry has been contacted for comment.