Ukrainian forces have blown up two primary bridges that Russian forces used to access occupied territory. The country’s top soldier said on Saturday that a fifth of the invading ground forces have been “destroyed” as the conflict approaches its sixth month.
The Antonivsy road bridge and the Kherson railway bridge over the Dnipro River were badly damaged in attacks earlier this week and are “probably unusable for heavy military vehicles,” according to a British intelligence report released on Saturday. That could mean Russian soldiers are stuck with limited options for new supplies or weapons to reach them.
Both spans have been used by Russian troops in the occupied Black Sea city of Kherson to transport soldiers and war material. Large parts of the region are occupied by Russian soldiers.
“The two primary road bridges giving access to the Russian-occupied area on the western bank of the Dnipro in Kherson Oblast are now likely out of use for substantial military supplies,” the British intelligence briefing said. “On August 10, 2022, Ukrainian precision strikes likely rendered the road crossing of the Dnipro River near Nova Kakhovka useless for heavy military vehicles. In recent days, Russia has only managed to make superficial repairs to the damaged Antonivsky road bridge, which is likely to remain structurally undermined.”
Even if Russia were to make repairs to the bridges, they will remain “a significant vulnerability,” the report said. “Supplying the ground for the thousands of Russian troops on the western bank almost certainly depends on just two ferry crossings,” the British report said. “With their supply chain limited, the amount of stocks Russia has managed to build on the western bank is likely to be a key factor in the force’s endurance.”
Ukrainian forces have “destroyed one-fifth of Russia’s ground forces in the country,” General Valeri Zaluzhnyi, head of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. during a phone call Saturday.
Western officials estimate that Russia has lost up to 20,000 soldiers in the conflict, which began when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The Ukrainian government has not released any reports of losses, citing efforts to boost the morale of their country’s fighters.
Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on world leaders to restrict visas for Russian citizens and declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
“There must be a guarantee that Russian assassins and state terror guides will not use Schengen,” Zelensky said in a video address on Friday. “You can’t destroy the idea of Europe, our common European values … You can’t turn Europe into a supermarket that doesn’t matter who comes in.”
This week, the Latvian parliament declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism for violence against civilians in Ukraine, while Estonia approved restrictions on tourist visas for Russian citizens entering the country. On Friday, Kiev called on other countries to do the same, according to the Wall Street Journal.