“It went too well”: Ukrainian army’s strategy to isolate Russians in Kherson

In the south of Ukraine, Q’s forces are making further advances, gradually reclaiming ground from the Russians, particularly in the Kherson region. A gradual and tactical advance, thanks, among other things, to satellite images recorded over weeks. Speaking to Morgan, Carel Sellmeijer, an engineer officer in the Dutch army, explained what strategy the Ukrainians undoubtedly used to defeat the Russian troops occupying the city of Kherson.

He first recalled that the latter, located on the banks of the Dnieper River, was the first city that the Russians managed to take from the hands of the Ukrainian authorities, and that it was accessible via these three main axes: a motorway bridge, a railway bridge and a dam. The bridge reserved for cars, the Antonivka Bridge (which crosses the Dnieper), has been repeatedly bombed by the Ukrainians since late July. As De Morgen explains, Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops used high-precision missiles for this, American ballistic missiles called Himars. The Antonivka bridge, however, did not collapse under missile fire, and this gives an indication of Ukrainian tactics to isolate Kherson.

©BelgaImage

“Wow… it’s pretty good,” observed Karl Selmeijer, looking at satellite images of the damage done to the motorway axis by the bombers. We can actually see the missile impacts lining the entire width of the bridge. Cars can still drive on the road, but the entire structure of the bridge is broken because the Ukrainians hit a very precise spot above one of the piers. Karl Selmeijer, a professor at the Netherlands Defense Academy, said: “The entire bridge doesn’t have to be destroyed to make it unusable. The Russians can no longer risk – even if they have repaired it on the surface – sending a tank or other heavy military equipment through it, which complicates resupply.

"It is very well done": Strategy of the Ukrainian army to isolate the Russians in the city of Kherson
©BelgaImage
"It is very well done": Strategy of the Ukrainian army to isolate the Russians in the city of Kherson
©BelgaImage

If the Ukrainians did not completely destroy the Antonivka bridge, it would have to be rehabilitated after the war, as it was a critical piece of the country’s infrastructure. “The army doesn’t want to make things too difficult for themselves,” the Dutchman insisted. They used the same tactic to damage the railway bridge and embankment road.

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But since the end of August, the Russians have seen “a serious effort to replace the bridge” of Antonivka, especially in satellite images, by installing solid pontoons that they will undoubtedly reinforce with steel plates. Impressed by these important installations, Karl Selmeijer visited the tanks there and noticed.

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