US precision rocket launchers enable Ukraine to pummel key supply bridge

By Susie Blann | The Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine—Ukrainian troops used American-supplied precision rocket launchers to knock out a strategic bridge used by Russia to supply its forces in southern Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region, officials said Wednesday.

Ukraine also claimed to have destroyed an enemy ammunition depot, artillery pieces and other military equipment in the region, killing 51 members of the Russian army. There was no immediate confirmation from the Russian side.

The Antonivskyi Bridge over the Dnieper River was attacked late Tuesday, according to Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration for the Kherson region. The bridge was left standing, but holes in its deck prevented vehicles from crossing the 1.4-kilometer (0.9-mile) span, he said.

After previous Ukrainian attacks damaged the bridge last week, it was closed to trucks, but it had remained open for passenger vehicles until the latest strike.

Russian forces in recent days have intensified their shelling of cities and villages in eastern Ukraine while also stepping up airstrikes in the south. At the same time, the Kremlin’s troops are facing mounting counterattacks from the Ukrainians in the Kherson region, which was captured by Moscow early in the war.

Ukrainian forces used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to target the bridge, Stremousov said. A Ukrainian military spokesperson, Nataliya Gumenyuk, told Ukrainian TV that “surgical strikes” were carried out on the bridge.

The HIMARS has greater range, much more precision and a faster rate of fire than the Soviet-designed Smerch, Uragan and Tornado rocket launchers used by both Russia and Ukraine. The weapons were among the billions of dollars in Western military aid that has helped Ukraine fight off the Russians since the February 24 invasion.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia has lost nearly 40,000 soldiers in the war and that tens of thousands more were wounded. His claim could not be independently verified. The Russian military last reported its losses in March, when it said 1,351 troops had been killed.

Image credits: AP/Evgeniy Maloletka