Ukraine said Tuesday that it has attacked command posts and destroyed bridges and ammunition storage in the Russian-occupied south. Russia said it fought off the attack and caused heavy losses against Ukraine's forces.
The clashes took place in the country’s Kherson area, which Russian forces took control of early in the war.
Independent confirmation of the claims has been difficult. However, Britain’s Defense Ministry said in an intelligence report that several Ukrainian units had increased their artillery fire across southern Ukraine.
The port city of Kherson had a pre-war population of about 300,000. It is an important economic center close to the Black Sea.
Kherson was the first major city to fall to the Russians in the war. Russia considers it an important area to establish a pathway on land from its border to the Crimean Peninsula, which it seized in 2014.
Occupation forces have spoken of plans to hold a vote on making the Kherson area a part of Russia. They have also pressured local people to take Russian citizenship and stop using Ukrainian money.
Ukraine’s presidential office reported that “powerful explosions continued during the day and night” and “tough battles” took place in the Kherson area. It said Ukrainian forces destroyed ammunition storage areas and all large bridges across the Dnieper River.
The Ukrainian military also reported destroying a temporary bridge being built by Russian forces on the Dnieper. And it said it hit about 10 command posts with artillery fire.
In Russia, state news agency Tass reported that explosions rocked Kherson on Tuesday morning, saying it was most likely caused by air defense systems.
British intelligence officials say many Russian units around Kherson “are likely under-manned.” These troops, the officials said, have limited supply and are undergoing reorganization.
A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, however, said its forces fought well and that Ukraine lost hundreds of troops, tanks and other vehicles on Monday. His claim could not be independently confirmed.
Ukrainian independent military expert Oleh Zhdanov told The Associated Press that “it will be possible to talk about the effectiveness of Ukrainian actions only after large cities are retaken.”
Zhdanov added that Ukrainian forces had broken through the first and the second lines of defense in the Kherson area several times in the past, “but it didn’t bring about results.”
Zhdanov said, “The most important thing is Ukrainian artillery’s work on the bridges, which the Russian military can no longer use.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
Paul Byrne reported this story for The Associated Press. Hai Do adapted the story for Learning English.
Words in This Story
post - n. place where soldiers are
ammunition - n. bullets and shells
artillery - n. large guns that are used to shoot over a great distance
tough - adj. very difficult to deal with