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Putin Can’t Fix This: Kherson Bridges Are Falling Down

HIMARS attack. Image Credit: U.S. Military.
HIMARS attack. Image Credit: U.S. Military.

Ukrainian military forces have reportedly targeted and destroyed two bridges over the Dnieper River that Russian forces used to resupply their forces and bring more troops into the Kherson region. 

Ukraine claims it rendered unusable the bridge that spans the dam at Nova Kakhovka. An earlier attack by Kyiv damaged the bridge, and Russian troops were only able to make superficial repairs before the latest attack, which has closed it. 

The Ukrainian Army’s Operational Command South posted on Facebook, “The destruction of the road bridge of the Nova Kakhovka dam was ensured, with the result that it was taken out of operation.”

Back in late July, Ukrainian forces closed Kherson’s Antonivskiy Bridge using a HIMARS missile system, an attack that according to Western military sources left the crossing “completely unusable.”

Outside Confirmation

While most media agencies say they can’t confirm Kyiv’s claim, the UK Defense Ministry, in its daily intelligence assessment, confirmed that the bridges had indeed been made heavily damaged. 

The UK intelligence assessment said that Ukrainian precision strikes (probably from U.S.-made HIMARS missiles) have made the road crossing over the Dnieper River “unusable for heavy military vehicles.” Nova Kakhovka is located about 34 miles northeast of Kherson.

The Ministry added that since late July, thousands of Russian personnel have been forced to use just two pontoon ferry bridges for resupply efforts in Kherson.

“With their supply chain constrained, the size of any stockpiles Russia has managed to establish on the west bank is likely to be a key factor in the force’s endurance,” the Ministry stated.

Ukraine’s Plan for Kherson

The plan by Kyiv is fairly clear: They are trying to isolate and cut off Russian troops on the west side of the river before Moscow annexes Kherson, an act for which Russia has already laid the groundwork. 

Once Russian troops are cut off and running short on food, ammunition, and replacements, then the counterattack to retake Kherson can proceed. 

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov said that his troops need 100 HIMARS systems. The U.S. has only promised 20 and has delivered 16 thus far. The UK has delivered three M-270 missile systems, which fire the same missiles as HIMARS, and are sending an additional three. 

Serhii Khlan, an adviser to the head of the Kherson region’s military administration, posted on Facebook that Kyiv’s plan is to frustrate and isolate Moscow’s forces in the city, which was captured in the early days of the war. 

“Of course, they will try to repair, look for an alternative in the crossings,” he said. “But it is time, money, and then as soon as they prepare and gain equipment and strength — we will destroy it again.”

Degraded Russian Forces

Ukrainian Armed Forces chief General Valeri Zaluzhnyi spoke by telephone with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on Saturday. Zaluzhnyi said that Ukrainian troops had destroyed one-fifth of Russia’s ground forces in the country.

“I maintain a constant dialogue with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, General Mark Milley. In today’s phone conversation, we once again checked out Russian losses in this war. We record the enemy is suffering significant losses, primarily in manpower – one-fifth of Russian armed forces units involved in hostilities in Ukraine have been destroyed,” Zaluzhnyi posted on the Telegram channel app.

Zaluzhnyi added that he told Milley that the fighting is ongoing across a 1,300km front and that Ukraine needs more advanced artillery systems. He asked that Ukraine’s international partners furnish them with what they require. 

Many Western officials and analysts believe that Russia has lost about 20,000 soldiers in the pitched fighting since its forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer, mainly in the 7th SFG. In addition to writing for and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

Written By

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.