Ukrainian forces struck a crucial crossing on the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region, ostensibly to cut off Russian forces’ supplies and potential retreat path in Kherson.
The pontoon bridge that Russia had just finished constructing appears to have been targeted by Ukrainian forces on October 20. The pontoon bridge, formed of several barges, is located next to the Antonovsky bridge.
Russian authorities developed pontoon bridges and ferry crossings to reroute citizens and carry supplies to Russian forces in Kherson after earlier Ukrainian bombings rendered the Antonovsky Bridge unworkable.
The road deck of a pontoon bridge is built upon massive, watertight concrete floats, boats, barges, or other buoyant platforms that are securely attached end to end. Each bridge pontoon is constructed separately on the ground before being floated and hauled to the bridge site.
Russian authorities claim that the latest strike by guided M31 rockets launched by an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) killed four civilians and injured nearly a dozen more.
Kyiv allegedly fired “12 HIMARS rockets towards a civilian crossing near the Antonovsky bridge,” according to the Russian-backed administration of Kherson.
ANTONOVSKY BRIDGE 🧵
Russians showed sunken barge after yesterday's shelling.
It is also a chance to take a closer look at the barge bridge and the holes on the Antonovsky bridge. pic.twitter.com/nErKpccfJO
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) October 21, 2022
The Russian investigation committee claimed that it had been proven that Ukrainian nationalists had purposefully fired American MLRS HIMARS cluster munitions at a civilian column crossing the river from Kherson to the other side.
The attack comes weeks after an explosion collapsed the Kerch Strait Bridge, a parallel road-rail bridge linking the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea to mainland Russia.
According to Russian-installed Kherson officials, the Ukrainian shelling at a Dnipro River ferry crossing claimed the lives of two journalists employed by a local TV station.
According to the Russian media, ten members of the broadcast team and their relatives were injured, and at least two other people were confirmed dead.
Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern operations command, stated that the Antonovsky Bridge was targeted by Ukrainian forces close to the crossing but only during an overnight curfew that Russian-installed officials put in place to prevent civilian casualties.
“We do not attack civilians and settlements,” Humeniuk told Ukrainian television.
Fortification Of Kherson
The attack occurred two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed martial law. Furthermore, local authorities have urgently begun evacuating thousands of residents in anticipation of a Ukrainian offensive on the city.
Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of Kherson’s Kremlin-installed regional administration, described the situation as “really difficult,” adding that they are preparing Kherson “as a fortress for defense and are ready to defend to the last.”
The Kakhovka dam is another hotspot on the Dnieper River and is located around 70 kilometers (44 miles) outside of Kherson. The dam has a sizable reservoir and associated hydroelectric power plant.
Both sides are allegedly targeting the facilities. Officials with ties to Russia allege the Ukrainian military has been partly assaulting the infrastructure to cut off Crimea’s water supply.
On the other hand, the dam and power plant, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, were mined by Russia to blow them up in what he dubbed a terrorist attack.
The president of Ukraine forewarned that this might cause 18 million cubic meters of water to be released, flooding Kherson and several other locations where hundreds of thousands of people reside. He warned that Russia would then try to place the blame on Ukraine.
On Friday, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on his Telegram page that the country had liberated 88 villages during its Kherson counteroffensive.
The general staff of the Ukrainian army has issued a warning that Belarus may launch an offensive to obstruct the flow of supplies for Western weaponry and equipment. The intervention of Belarus could potentially cause Ukraine to redirect resources, weakening its southern counteroffensive.
Meanwhile, for the first time in months, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu had a phone call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday morning. The official release from the Pentagon stated that Secretary Austin stressed the significance of maintaining communication channels amid the ongoing battle against Ukraine.
The official Pentagon readout mentioned that Austin also spoke with his close friend, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, to reaffirm American unshakeable commitment to help Ukraine resist Russian aggression.