Russian forces in the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the flow of ammunition, armor and fuel to front-line units, according to Ukrainian officials and Western analysts, thanks to a concerted Ukrainian campaign to cut off river and rail supply lines as well as target ammunition depots.
The Russians are moving command posts from the north of the Dnipro River to the south bank as bridges have been heavily damaged, Ukrainian officials say.
The first deputy head of Kherson regional council, Yuri Sobolevsky, claimed on his Telegram channel that a significant portion of the Russian military command had already left Kherson city. Ukrainian forces are about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of the city, towards Mykolaiv.
Much of Kherson region has been occupied since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As part of Kyiv’s counteroffensive to try to retake lost territory in the south, Ukrainian forces are targeting critical bridges to disrupt supply routes in and around Kherson.
The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, said Sunday that the Russians may be leaving for the other side of the river “to avoid being trapped in Kherson city if Ukrainian strikes cut off all ground lines of communication connecting the right bank of the Dnipro River to the Russian rear.”
Videos have appeared on social media in the past few days showing renewed long-range artillery attacks on the Antonivskyi bridge and a road bridge over the dam near Nova Kakhovka, rendering them impassable for heavily armored vehicles. In some areas, the river is up to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) wide, making pontoon bridges impractical.
The Ukrainians have also targeted several railway lines from the Russian-occupied Crimea Peninsula into the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. On Tuesday, a series of fierce explosions rocked the town of Dzankhoy on the main line towards Kherson. Recent video showed a substantial stock of military vehicles and ammunition at the site.
Two railway lines from Crimea were struck in the last 10 days. Last week, local residents reported several hours of explosions in the Henichesk district, a port area along the Sea of Azov, and the railway further west at Brylivka was also struck.
“Within the last week we have destroyed over 10 ammunition warehouses and military equipment clusters. These hits do not allow for the heavy equipment to be transferred by these bridges,” said the Ukrainian military’s Operational Command South.
None of this suggests an imminent Russian withdrawal from Kherson.
Olga Voitovych, Yulia Kesaieva and Mariya Knight contributed reporting.
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