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27 Jul, 2022 09:19

Ukraine strikes key bridge with US-made HIMARS missiles – local authorities

The Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson Region has been targeted three times in the past 24 hours
Ukraine strikes key bridge with US-made HIMARS missiles – local authorities

Traffic on the Antonovsky Bridge over the Dnepr River in Russia-controlled Kherson Region has been halted after Ukrainian attacks, according to local authorities.

The 1366-meter bridge has been bombed three times by Ukrainian forces in the past 24 hours.

In the latest overnight strike “the bridge was hit, but it’s not destroyed. Only some new holes have appeared,” Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Kherson Region administration, said.

“We’ve halted all traffic [over the bridge] and are going to fix it now,” the official added.

According to Stremousov, pontoon crossings over the Dnieper will be set up in the area pending repairs on the Antonovsky Bridge.

The Ukrainian strike was carried out with use of US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launch systems, he claimed.

The attack on the only bridge over the Dnepr in the region has “only complicated the life of peaceful civilians,” Stremousov insisted, while denying that the structure had any military significance.

“The hysteria in the Ukrainian media that the outcome of virtually the whole conflict will be decided on this bridge is nothing, but a bluff,” he said.

There have been several strikes on the Antonovsky Bridge in recent days amid Kiev’s claims that it's preparing a major counteroffensive against Russian forces in the Kherson region.

Those attacks employed HIMARS and Soviet-made systems possessed by Ukraine, with most of the projectiles being intercepted by Russian air defenses. The few missiles that made it through were only able to damage the roadway, while all the pillars of the bridge remained intact.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.