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Putin’s Disaster: Ukraine Is Now on the Offensive Trying to Retake a Key City

Ukraine M777. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
On Friday, Canada joined France in announcing the delivery of heavy artillery to Ukraine.

On day 149 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is still looking for a breakthrough in the Donbas as the Ukrainian forces are getting ready to retake a major city.

The Tables Are Turning in the South 

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the situation in the south, where the Ukrainian military is preparing for a push toward Kherson.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southern axis of advance began a few days after the Russian forces launched their renewed offensive in the Donbas in early May. Since then, the Ukrainians have slowly but steadily gained ground in the direction of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Now, it seems, the Ukrainians are poised to pounce.

“In the last 48 hours, heavy fighting has been taking place as Ukrainian forces have continued their offensive against Russian forces in Kherson Oblast, west of the River Dnipro,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

“Russia is likely attempting to slow the Ukrainian attack using artillery fire along the natural barrier of the Ingulets River, a tributary of the Dnipro. Simultaneously, the supply lines of the Russian force west of the Dnipro are increasingly at risk,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

Over the past few weeks, Ukrainians have been expertly using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and other Multiple Launcher Rocket Systems (MLRS) they have received from the U.S. and NATO (about 25 such weapon systems have been delivered or will be delivered to Ukraine) to strike at Russian ammunition depots, logistical targets, and command and control hubs.

More recently, the Ukrainians have been using the HIMARS to target the Antonivsky Bridge, the only road that links Kherson with the rest of Russian-occupied Ukraine in the east. Should the Ukrainians destroy the bridge, the Russian forces in Kherson would be trapped.

“Additional Ukrainian strikes have caused further damage to the key Antonivsky Bridge, though Russia has conducted temporary repairs. As of 22 July 2022, it was almost certainly open to some traffic. It has not been possible to verify claims by Ukrainian officials that Russia is preparing to construct an alternative, military pontoon bridge across the Dnipro,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

“The Russian army prioritises maintaining its military bridging capability, but any attempt to construct a crossing of the Dnipro would be a very high risk operation. If the Dnipro crossings were denied, and Russian forces in occupied Kherson cut off, it would be a significant military and political setback for Russia,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Russian Casualties 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 39,240 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 221 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,708 tanks, 864 artillery pieces, 3,929 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 253 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,820 vehicles and fuel tanks, 113 anti-aircraft batteries, 714 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 72 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 167 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.