In the Kherson region, Russian troops also control areas north of the Dnieper River. But now the strategically important Antonivka Bridge is being targeted by the Ukrainian artillery. For Moscow's armed forces, the crossing is important as a supply route and for possible offensives.
According to British intelligence information, Kiev's troops in southern Ukraine damaged the Antonivka Bridge near the city of Cherson, which is strategically important for the Russian advance. The approximately 1000 meter long bridge is probably still usable. However, it is a weak point for the Russian troops. The bridge crosses the Dnieper River and is one of two remaining crossings over which Russia could withdraw or reinforce its troops, according to the current situation report from the Ministry of Defense in London.
According to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti, the bridge has now been closed to traffic due to the damage. A total of 12 rockets were fired at the structure, said deputy chief of the occupation administration of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremusov, according to the agency. Ukrainian officials reported on Tuesday that the Antonivka Bridge had been shelled by HIMARS multiple rocket launchers.
Russian forces control most of the Cherson region and from there threaten the port city of Odessa and the remaining Ukrainian coastline as far as Transnistria. Military experts fear that Moscow could use the bridgehead over the Dnieper for a new offensive next spring.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently announced a counter-offensive in the south as long as large parts of the Russian forces are tied up in the east. In their report, the British secret service agents suspect that controlling the crossings over the Dnieper will probably be the key factor in the fighting in Cherson. In connection with the offensive, Kyiv has already suggested destroying the bridges as a way of preventing Russian troops from retreating to the other bank of the river.
However, according to experts from the US military institute ISW, Kremlin chief Putin could threaten a nuclear strike in order to prevent a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south. The Russian doctrine, which allows the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory, also applies to newly annexed areas in Ukraine. According to the current ISW analysis, Ukraine may have only a narrow window of opportunity to retake the occupied Ukrainian territories before the Kremlin annexes these territories.