Ukraine: Footage appears to show destroyed bridge in Kherson
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The defending military has been using modern, Western-supplied weaponry to disrupt the invading army’s supply lines, by hitting infrastructure and ammunitions dumps in occupied territory. According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the move by the invading military “highlights the threat Russia feels from the increased range and precision of Western-supplied systems”.
Fighting in the embattled nation has been limited to the south and east, where Russia is able to easily resupply its offensive, following its withdrawal from the north after a disastrous military campaign in the opening phases of the war.
In the south, a defensive line has been established between the cities of Kherson and Mykolaiv. Fears have been raised that Russian troops are attempting to push westwards towards Odessa and the Moldovan border.
In July, Ukrainian forces crippled the Antonivskiy bridge that spans the Dnipro river, as well as other bridges across the river, to disrupt the supply of arms to the front line in Kherson from Crimea. Officials have also said dozens of Russian military installations have been hit.
At the weekend, Yuri Sobolevsky, a Kherson regional official, wrote on Telegram: “The Ukrainian army is pouring it on against the Russians, and this is only the beginning.”
Putin’s forces are being so hampered by the targeted attacks that, according to the MoD, they have “almost certainly” positioned pyramidal radar reflectors in the water near the Antonivskiy Bridge and a rail bridge over the Dnipro River.
These radar reflectors are made of material that has a high absorption of the sound waves used by radar systems to detect objects, confusing military equipment that relies on it for mapping.
In an intelligence update this morning (Thursday), the MoD said that these reflectors have likely been deployed to “hide” the bridge from synthetic aperture radar imaging – that which is used to build 2D or 3D images of a landscape – as well as “possible missile-targeting equipment”.
Satellite imagery and footage from the Dnipro River in recent days suggests that these reflectors have been laid out next to the damaged bridge to form a “ghost bridge” that missiles might target.
While the Russian military is multiples larger than that of its adversary, it is said to be relying on Soviet-era equipment.
Many of its missiles have hit civilian targets – either deliberately or through inaccuracy – earning it worldwide condemnation.
On the other hand, Ukraine has been able to utilise US-made HIMARS missiles to make exact hits on dozens of Russian military targets in efforts to stem supplies moving to the front line.
Ukrainian servicemen are also being trained in UK-made long-range missile systems, which are expected to allow precision blows at a range of up to 50 miles.
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The MoD said that Ukrainian artillery and missile units were continuing to target Russian military “strongholds, personnel clusters, logistical support bases and ammunition depots”.
It said these precision attacks would “highly likely impact Russian military logistical resupply and put pressure on Russian military combat support elements”.
The MoD said on Saturday that Russian forces “have highly likely established two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for the fact that nearby bridges have been damaged”.
But as well as issues with supply lines, the Russian armed forces are suspected to be running out of men to fight, after a disastrous opening phase of the war.
Western officials suspect that Russia is close to expending its capacity to make further territorial gains, as Ukraine continues to train recruits and take on new weapons deliveries.
On July 29, the MoD said Russia had a “major shortage of combat infantry”, opening the door for Ukrainian forces to begin clawing back occupied territory.
Russia is said to be attempting to recruit men from occupied Ukrainian territories, and are said to be moving troops to the south to reinforce the Kherson front line and potentially stage a counter-attack.
Ukrainian media outlets reported earlier this week, though, that the Russian military is being isolated at Henichesk, a small port city on the Sea of Azov.
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