Vladimir Putin’s troops in city of Kherson highly vulnerable, UK’s Ministry of Defence says
Russian troops in Kherson have been “virtually cut off” from other occupied territory and left vulnerable after Ukraine scaled up its counter-offensive in the region, the UK’s military intelligence has said.
In an update on Thursday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Ukraine’s attacks on Russian-held Kherson were “gaining momentum” after its forces struck Antonivskyi Bridge, which it said was likely rendered unusable.
The strategic bridge, still standing but pierced with holes, is essential for Moscow to supply its occupying forces in the south.
The MoD said Ukrainian troops have used new long-range artillery to damage at least three bridges on the Dnipro river, which runs through the centre of Ukraine from Kherson in the south to Kyiv in the north.
It said: “Russia’s 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, now looks highly vulnerable.”
It added that Russia’s loss of control over Kherson would “severely undermine [its] attempts to paint the occupation as a success”.
Russian officials have said they would instead use floating bridges and ferries to get their soldiers across the river.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday in his nightly address: “We are doing everything to ensure that the occupying forces do not have any logistical opportunities in our country.”
One of Mr Zelensky’s advisers, Oleksiy Arestovych, said Russia was conducting a “massive redeployment” of forces from the east to the south to defend the Kherson region.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, has tweeted that Russia was concentrating “the maximum number of troops” in the direction of the Kherson.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s forces have launched missile strikes on the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, areas that have not been targeted in weeks. Shelling has also hit Kharkiv and Mykolaiv.
On Wednesday, Russian-backed forces said they had captured the coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant, Ukraine’s second-largest, in the eastern Donetsk region. It is reported to be Moscow’s first significant gain in more than three weeks.
Also in Donetsk, Moscow-backed separatists have accused Ukrainian forces of killing four civilians and injuring 11 amid shelling. The report could not be verified by the Reuters news agency.