The southern Ukrainian port city of Kherson has become a focal point of the war with Russia. The city of 279,000 (380,000 before the war) has been repeatedly shelled and attacked by Russian forces, including the Wagner Group’s recent claim that it took control of the city.
Russia has been shelling Kherson and the surrounding region for several days as flooding continues from the collapse of the Kakhovka dam on the nearby Dnipro River.
The river forms a frontline between Ukrainian and Russian forces, and video now shows a Russian mortar system being hit by direct fire.
Video Shows Mortar Strike Near Kherson
The video shows a Russian 2S9 NONA (Newest Ordnance of Ground Artillery) system moving across terrain and crossing through a wooded area before being struck by Ukrainian forces. The NONA explodes into a ball of flames, scattering debris for hundreds of yards and creating a mushroom cloud that rises into the air. The S29 NONA has a range of around 500 km and first entered service around 1981.
As Special Kherson Cat explained, the 120mm mortar system was struck in a position on the left bank of the Dnipro in Kherson Oblast:
“Russian 2S9 NONA self-propelled 120mm mortar explodes somewhere on the left bank Kherson region. By the 406 brigade of Ukraine.”
What Makes Kherson Vital
As flooding continues from the recent collapse of the Kakhovka dam, Russia has intensified shelling in the Kherson region. The death toll from the flooding currently sits at 14 and is expected to rise. Thousands have fled their homes as a result of the dam’s collapse.
Fifteen months of intense fighting have left Kherson almost completely destroyed. Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prighozhin says 20,000 of his fighters were killed in the fight for Kherson, and Ukraine has not released casualty estimates.
Kherson is strategically important because it serves as a corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Kherson was taken by Russia in March of last year and recaptured by Ukraine in November.
As former British Army intelligence officer and chief executive of Mackenzie Intelligence Services Forbes Mackenzie explains, “Getting control of the Dnipro river is important because it runs right into the center of Ukraine.”
— Special Kherson Cat ???????????? (@bayraktar_1love) June 8, 2023
Paul Brian is an author and freelance journalist who has reported for Reuters, BBC and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Spectator, the Federalist and the American Conservative. He has covered global events from Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East to South America.