Time News Desk: Ukraine on Sunday said Russian troops who have crossed the Dnipro river during their offensive in the southern Kherson region were facing growing difficulties after strategic bridges were damaged.
Moscow’s forces seized the southern city of Kherson on the Dnipro early in their invasion of Ukraine, the only regional capital they have conquered so far.
Their westward offensive in the region has made some progress, but the three bridges they control in the area two for road traffic and another carrying a railway have been bombarded repeatedly in recent weeks.
The most important crossing is the Antonivski bridge in Kherson’s suburbs, which has been targeted by missiles since late July.
Regional lawmaker Sergiy Khlan told Ukrainian television that the only way for Russian soldiers to cross the river were pontoons near the Antonivski bridge that ‘cannot totally meet their needs’.
Russia is moving its command centres to the left bank of the river knowing that they would not be able to evacuate them in time if fighting escalated, he added.
But Khlan said the 20,000 Russian troops on the right bank could still cross the bridges on foot for now.
The Nova Kakhovka bridge, around 50 kilometres to the northeast of Antonivski bridge, was targeted this week.
Khlan on Saturday said Ukrainian forces struck the bridge earlier this week, preventing the Russians from moving ammunition, equipment and food across it to resupply their troops.
A briefing by Britain’s defence ministry said the two road bridges leading to Russian-controlled territory on the west bank of the Dnipro were ‘probably’ out of use.
Kyiv and Moscow accused each other on Saturday of striking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine, which has been shelled repeatedly in the past week.
Zaporizhzhia is the biggest nuclear power plant in Ukraine and in Europe.
The plant has been under Russian control since March, and Ukraine has accused Moscow of basing hundreds of soldiers and storing arms there.
‘Limit your presence on the streets of Energodar! We have received information about new provocations by the Russian occupiers,’ Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom said as it shared a message on Telegram from a local chief in Energodar city, where the plant is located.
The city remains loyal to Kyiv.
‘According to residents, there is new shelling in the direction of the nuclear plant the time between the start and arrival of the shelling is 3-5 seconds,’ the message said.
But pro-Moscow officials in the occupied areas in Zaporizhzhia region blamed Ukrainian forces for the shelling.
‘Energodar and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are again under fire by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s militants,’ said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-installed administration.
The missiles fell ‘in the areas located on the banks of the Dnipro river and in the plant’, he said, without reporting any casualties or damage.
Areas occupied by Russia and those under Ukraine’s control are divided by the Dnipro river.
Kyiv and Moscow have traded accusations over several rounds of shelling on the plant this month, raising fears of a nuclear catastrophe and led to an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday.
Ukraine said the first strikes on August 5 damaged a power cable and forced one of the reactors to stop working.
Then strikes on Thursday damaged a pumping station and radiation sensors.
Ukraine, backed by Western allies, has called for a demilitarised zone around the plant and for the withdrawal of Russian forces.