Abridge used by occupying Russian forces in Ukraine’s embattled Kherson region has sustained heavy damage in a strike described as the “final chord” by a Ukrainian official.
Kherson Regional Council member Serhiy Khlan suggested in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the strike on Antonovsky Bridge, also known as the Antonivka Road Bridge, in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, could eliminate any chances of the Russian military using it for strategic purposes. The bridge, which crosses the Dnieper river, has been used by Russia as a key transportation route for military equipment and supplies in the region.
“Kherson region. Another strike on the Antonivka Bridge! It seems to me that this is the final chord,” Khlan wrote in the Facebook post, according to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.
Eliminating Russia’s use of the bridge as a supply line could be vital to the success of the Ukrainian counterattack that began this week in Kherson and other areas of southern Ukraine.
Vladyslav Nazarov, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Operational Command South (OCS), said that the Antonovsky Bridge was one of three bridges in Kherson that were targeted on Tuesday “to confirm their inoperable status,” according to The Kyiv Independent.
The other bridges targeted included a rail bridge located in nearby Antonivka and Kherson’s Daryivskyi bridge, a combination rail and road bridge that Russian troops had been using to transport supplies over the Ingulets river.
Russia had repaired the Antonovsky Bridge following previous Ukrainian attacks. Satellite images released on Monday showed the Russian army was constructing a pontoon crossing close to the heavily-damaged Antonovsky Bridge, according to Ukrainska Pravda.
The full extent of the damage caused by the latest attack on the bridge, and whether or not the bridge is still repairable, is currently unknown. It is also unclear whether Tuesday’s attack included a strike on the pontoon crossing.
Marina Miron, a researcher at the Defence Studies Department of the King’s College London, told Newsweek on August 23 that the construction of a pontoon bridge in Antonivka could ultimately benefit Russia by forcing Ukraine to use scare weapons to attack a crossing that is easily repairable.
“Precisely because a pontoon bridge is much cheaper and easier to construct, it would not be very efficient to fire expensive missiles at it,” Miron said. “It would not make sense to waste them on something that can be easily restored or rebuild… for the Ukrainians it presents a challenge of efficiently using the available resources.”
Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday that an estimated 159 Russian troops were killed overnight, with more than 220 missile and artillery strikes taking place amid the counteroffensive in southern Ukraine.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian government for comment.