Thousands of Russian troops rely on vulnerable pontoons as Ukraine blocks southern supply routes

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Thousands of Russian soldiers posted west of the Dnieper River in Ukraine found themselves in a vulnerable position as Ukrainian forces blocked most supply routes to the east, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.

British intelligence has estimated that two main bridges in the occupied Kherson region are now unusable for transporting heavy military vehicles after Ukrainian precision strikes targeted one of the crossings again on Wednesday.

“Russia has only managed to carry out superficial repairs to the damaged Antonovsky road bridge, which likely remains structurally undermined,” the UK intelligence update said.

Ukrainian infantrymen train May 9, 2022, near Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Ukrainian infantrymen train May 9, 2022, near Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine.
(John Moore/Getty Images)

UKRAINE ELIMINATES KEY BRIDGE ‘DESTROYING’ RUSSIAN PLANS FOR SOUTHERN ‘ADVANCEMENT’

Ukrainian forces started targeting major crossings used by Russian forces in the region for supply routes and access to the Crimean peninsula last month.

A railway line is also believed to have been damaged beyond use.

Russian troops have since been forced to rely on pontoon bridges to transport men and supplies across the river that separates regions of southwestern Ukraine from Crimea.

“Even if Russia manages to carry out major repairs to the bridges, they will remain a key vulnerability,” said the British Ministry of Defense. “Ground resupply for the several thousand Russian troops in the West Bank almost certainly depends on just two pontoon ferry crossings.”

The ministry said that with reduced supply lines, Russian troops will be forced to rely on all the stocks they have accumulated west of the Dnieper, which “will probably be a key factor in the endurance of strength”.

A view shows the damaged Antonivskyi Bridge in Kherson, Ukraine, in this screenshot obtained from social media video posted on July 27, 2022.

A view shows the damaged Antonivskyi Bridge in Kherson, Ukraine, in this screenshot obtained from social media video posted on July 27, 2022.
(Ukrinform/via REUTERS)

UKRAINE LEAVES RUSSIAN AMMUNITION RAILWAY LINKING KHERSON TO CRIMEA

Ukrainian defense officers said his forces would launch a major offensive along the front line to the east and south as they sought to push back Russian forces.

Details of the offensive remain unclear, but progress made by Ukrainian troops in recent weeks in areas like Kherson suggests that some aspects of the offensive have begun.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought to shut down hints of what the offensive would look like in a late-night speech on Thursday, saying it was “frankly irresponsible” to discuss military plans to grab headlines.

Ukrainian gunners from the military assembly center check weapons and special equipment to prepare them before taking up duty on the frontline in Kherson, Ukraine, on July 15, 2022.

Ukrainian gunners from the military assembly center check weapons and special equipment to prepare them before taking up duty on the frontline in Kherson, Ukraine, on July 15, 2022.
(Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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“The general rule is simple: war is certainly not the time for vanity and loud declarations”, he declared, addressing specifically “all the representatives of the State and of the territorial collectivities”. .

“The less concrete details you give about our defense plans, the better it will be for the implementation of those defense plans,” he added.

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