Putin forces backed into corner in south Ukraine as strike turns bridge into mincemeat

Ukraine forces strike Russian-held Nova Kakhovka

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Strikes in the last 36 hours hit the already badly damaged Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson and the nearby Kakhovka Bridge. Both cross the Dnieper River and are seen as valuable checkpoints to the Russian-occupied area.

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) supplied by the West are believed to have been used.

Footage on social media shows huge holes in the Kakhovka Bridge, with one user suggesting it had been “made mincemeat”.

Pushed back Russian forces have resorted to using a pontoon river crossing after repeated attacks on the Antonovsky.

The UK Ministry of Defence notes the latter structure as a “key vulnerability” for Putin’s military.

In a post on Facebook, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said: “Our aircraft launched four strikes on areas where the enemy’s manpower, weapons, and equipment were amassed in Beryslav district, in particular, the air defence systems in Nova Kakhovka.

“Rocket and artillery units hit the Kakhovsky Bridge (Kakhova) as part of the execution of fire tasks.

“The results of the hits are being specified.”

They also wrote: “The condition of the Antoniv bridge (Antonvosky) has been corrected once again, contrary to the intentions of the occupiers.

“In view of the damage caused and continuous fire control, the occupying forces do not dare to use or repair the bridge at the moment.”

A Twitter user, described as a Kherson resident, said artillery struck Antonovsky at around 5am on Thursday, sparking a fire on the southern bank.

Nataliya Humenyuk, spokeswoman of Operational Command South, also noted: “The Armed Forces did everything to prevent the occupiers from using the bridge to transport heavy equipment and ammunition.

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“Repair crews are also evacuated, realizing that fire control does not stop.”

Express.co.uk has not been able to independently verify reports of the latest rounds of strikes.

The Kakhova Bridge attack is understood to have happened on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Independence Day.

It marked 31 years of independence from the Soviet Union, but was hit by tragedy as a Russian airstrike on Kyiv railway station left 25 civilians dead.

On Thursday, Russia’s Defence Ministry confirmed it had carried out the attack in eastern Ukraine.

In its daily briefing, the ministry said an Iskander missile struck a military train on Wednesday at Chaplyne station.

They claimed it had been set to deliver arms to Ukrainian forces on the frontline in the eastern Donbas region.

Volodymyr Zelensky had earlier warned of Russian provocations ahead of the independence anniversary

Shelling also occurred in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Nikopol and Dnipro.

August 24 also marked six months since Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

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