Avideo on social media appears to show a convoy of Russian military vehicles retreating from a Russian-held Kherson town south to the Crimean Peninsula, amid reports of a Ukraine counter-offensive on the strategic southern region.
The video was posted on Telegram by Strana, a Russian-language news outlet in Ukraine. The footage is sped up to show how many Russian artillery vehicles are purportedly leaving the town. In 10 seconds, nine vehicles appear to drive by.
A caption next to the video said: “In the captured Genichesk, columns of Russian equipment have been fixed since the morning. Local telegram channels report a convoy of 25 cars, which has not been observed before. It is also reported that since yesterday evening the columns have been moving in the direction of the Arabat Spit, that is, to the south, in the direction of Crimea.”
Russian forces have had to regroup in the eastern region of Donbas, where most of the fighting is taking place, but Ukraine’s army has come back to Kherson with a counterattack.
Ukraine’s use of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) is reportedly playing a crucial role in the battle to retake Kherson. Ukraine’s military has bombed three key bridges in the Kherson region.
The Guardian reported Wednesday that video and witness accounts show up to 18 strikes on the Antonivskiy Bridge that crosses the Dnieper River, a key artery to the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula for ammunition and supplies. The Ukrainian bridge detonations appear to be an attempt to isolate the city before taking it back from the Russians, who took it in early March, only days into the war.
Videos on social media show rockets striking the key bridge. Nataliya Humenyuk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s southern command confirmed the strikes in an attempt to “destroy the enemy’s plans.”
On July 21, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted that the destruction of the Antonovsky bridge in Kherson by the Ukrainian army was a signal for Russian troops to retreat.
“Antonivsky bridge – a relevant ‘gesture of goodwill’ for now that says it’s time for Russian troops to leave Kherson voluntarily. Otherwise – face constant shelling, night terror, panic attacks and HIMARS. The range of possibilities is narrowing, along with the accuracy of Ukrainian artillery fire.” Podolyak tweeted.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian foreign ministry for comment.
The HIMARs rocket system, provided to Ukraine by the United States, has been touted as a “gamechanger” by Western officials for its capacity to inflict serious damage on the Russian military. The rocket system, built by Lockheed Martin, is long-range, mobile and fires with precision, making it formidable on the battlefield.