Music nearly over for Putin’s men at battered Antonovsky bridge

Ukraine: Explosions rock Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson

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The Antonovsky bridge was a key supply route for Russian forces in and out of Kherson along the Dnipro river. In July, the Antonovsky bridge was struck by Ukrainian forces operating US-supplied HIMARS, or high mobility artillery rocket systems.

Shortly after the initial strike by Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) described the bridge as a “key vulnerability” for Russian troops.

The MoD then pinpointed how Russia resorted to using a ferry crossing principally “for civilian use” to transport supplies and troops around Kherson.

Several other bridges across the Dnipro river have also been targeted by Ukrainian troops.

But Sergei Khlan, an ousted Ukrainian official in the region, said on Tuesday evening that Ukraine had successfully struck the bridge once again.

He wrote on Facebook: “Another strike on the Antonovsky bridge!

“It seems to be the final chord.”

This comes as Ukraine announces a large-scale offensive to push Russian forces back through the Kherson region.

Ukraine has long declared its intention to retake Kherson, which was the first city to fall to Russia during the invasion.

Mr Khlan said on Tuesday that “the first line of Russian defences on the Kherson front” had been breached in the renewed offensive.

He continued on the messaging app Telegram: “Today there was a powerful artillery attack on enemy positions in […] the entire territory of the occupied Kherson region.

“This is the announcement of what we have been waiting for since the spring – it is the beginning of the de-occupation of the Kherson region.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his nightly address to speak directly to Russian forces in the Kherson area.

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He said: “The occupiers should know we shall oust them to the border, the line of which has not changed.”

He added: “If they want to survive, it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home.”

Moscow dismissed the Ukrainian reports, saying their objectives would be met and “all of our goals will be reached”.

However, the MoD’s analysis, published on Twitter on Wednesday morning, corroborated Ukraine’s claims over those from the Kremlin.

It described “several axes” to the Ukrainian assault, with Russia likely to draft in forces from the eastern Donbas region to attempt to maintain its grip on southern Ukraine.

It described: “Ukrainian armoured forces have continued to assault Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces on several axes across the south of the country since Monday.

“Ukrainian formations have pushed the front line back some distance in places, exploiting relatively thinly held Russian defences.

“In line with its doctrine, Russia will likely now attempt to plug the gaps in its line using pre-designated mobile reserve units.

“These will likely include some of those from the Eastern Grouping of Forces.”

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