Putin nightmare as Russian troops facing major problems in Dombas – Ukraine fighting back

'Russia running out of steam' in Donbas says Sir Richard Barrons

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In its daily intelligence briefing, the MoD said Russia’s offensive in Ukraine’s vast eastern territory was only seeing it make minimal gains as defending forces held their lines.

Along a whole 300-mile eastern front, firefights, heavy shelling and incursions followed by fightbacks, continue. But losses on both sides are now heavy, with 100 Ukrainian troops lost daily and some three times this number of Kremlin soldiers being killed on a daily basis.

Ukrainian forces yesterday struck and seriously damaged a bridge that is key for supplying Russian troops in southern Ukraine, a regional official said.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-backed temporary administration for the Russia-controlled southern Kherson region, said the Ukrainian military struck the bridge across the Dnieper River with missiles. He said that the bridge sustained serious damage but it was not closed for traffic.

Mr Stremousov said the Ukrainian forces used the US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to strike the bridge, adding that some of them were intercepted by Russian air defences. Today’s shelling of the Antonivskyi Bridge was the second in as many days.

It was lightly damaged by Ukrainian shelling a day earlier, according to the Moscow-backed authorities in Kherson. Early in the war, Russian troops quickly overtook the Kherson region just north of the Crimean Peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014.  They have faced Ukrainian counterattacks, but have largely held their ground.

The 1.4-kilometre (0.9-mile) bridge is the main one across the Dnieper River, and if it is made unusable it would be hard for the Russian military to keep supplying its forces in the region amid repeated Ukrainian attacks.

The MoD said that the bridge was likely to still be usable after the Ukrainian strikes, but it is a “key vulnerability for Russian forces.”

“It is one of only two road crossing points over the Dnieper by which Russia can supply or withdraw its forces in the territory it has occupied west of the river,” it added.

“Control of Dnieper crossings is likely to become a key factor in the outcome of fighting in the region.”

The Ukrainian attacks on the bridge in Kherson come as the bulk of the Russian forces are stuck in the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland of Donbas where they have made slow gains facing fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Russia’s ground advance has slowed, in part because Ukraine is using more effective US weapons and in part because of what Russian President Vladimir Putin has called an “operational pause.”

Russia has been focusing more on aerial bombardment using long-range missiles.

Ukrainian officials voiced hope that Kyiv could drain the Russian military resources in the fight for Donbas and then launch a counteroffensive to reclaim control of the Kherson region and parts of the Zaporizhzhia region that the Russians seized early in the war.

With indications that Ukraine is planning counterattacks to retake occupied areas, the Russian military has in recent weeks targeted the Black Sea port of Odesa and parts of southern Ukraine where its troops captured cities earlier in the war.

Kherson – site of a major ship-building industry at the confluence of the Dnieper River and the Black Sea near Russian-annexed Crimea – is one of several areas a US government spokesman said Russia is trying to annex.

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