Ukrainian crews reload a HIMARS launcher
Iryna Terehovych smiled when she heard the word “HIMARS”. She told Express.co.uk the weapons are making a tangible difference on the frontlines. The systems were supplied to Ukrainian forces late last month and have already helped slow, if not halt, Moscow’s brutal advance across the country.
She said the enemy is now moving the rear further and it is becoming difficult for them to move food and ammunition to the front lines, which is a “huge plus”.
There were even reports of a large Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south of the country near the city of Kherson in Kherson Oblast. Kyiv forces used long-range artillery to strike enemy supply lines and ammunition dumps in an attempt to exhaust Russian guns.
Ms Terehovych has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region of Donetsk and Luhansk for years. She started fighting in 2016.
Before the full-scale war, she commanded an anti-tank unit, however, after the initial phase of the invasion, Ukraine was forced to change its strategy. She now commands a reconnaissance platoon that helps direct artillery fire.
She said: “Before, I was the commander of an anti-tank team. Right now it’s a war of drones and heavy artillery. It’s no longer relevant to use anti-tank missiles.”
She added: “[Now]my team verifies the information provided by the authorities, [we do] recognition using various optical devices.
Ukraine uses HIMARS to strike far behind the front line.
Iryna Terehovych and her unit returned to the front on July 25.
During the initial phase of the Kremlin invasion, the media was flooded with videos of Javelin anti-tank missiles and ANLA destroying Russian armor and vehicles. As Russia attempted to launch a blitzkrieg in Kyiv, it quickly entered Ukraine, at great expense.
However, as Putin realized that Kyiv would not fall easily or quickly, Moscow withdrew its forces to eastern Ukraine and changed its strategy.
Now his advances used the Soviet tactics of extremely heavy artillery bombardment followed by ground offensives. In the aftermath, several Ukrainian cities were almost completely destroyed.
With the delivery of long-range artillery, particularly HIMARS from the United States and M270 multiple launch rocket systems from the United Kingdom, the West has attempted to level the playing field for Ukraine.
Ms Terehovych said: “You saw that we had no long-range artillery, and they [Russian forces] to see her. It’s a shame because we often had information about the operation of the Russian long-range artillery but we can’t reach it and can’t do anything to stop it.”
However, Ukraine now has the ability to hit Russian forces where it arguably hurts them the most: their supply lines.
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A Ukrainian soldier in Mykolaiv, near Kherson.
A HIMARS test shot. Artillery allows Ukraine to strike behind Russian lines.
Since the start of the invasion, the Kremlin has struggled to supply its forces, now that they have consolidated in the south and east of the country, these crucial supply lines have been shortened.
With the limited number of Western systems, Ukraine had to prioritize high-value targets. They systematically destroyed ammunition dumps and command posts, forcing Russian commanders out of action, and made ammunition, crucial for the massive Russian artillery bombardments, scarce at the front.
Already soldiers on the front lines are feeling the effects.
Mrs. Terehovych said: “The enemy is moving their rear further, and it’s problematic for them to deliver ammunition and food to the front lines, and that’s a huge advantage.”
She added: “[Their] armor won’t be worth anything without ammunition.”
Western analysts also noted the lull in Russian artillery strikes. In fact, data from NASA’s FIRMS satellite, which is normally used to view fires from space but can also be used to view the aftermath of artillery, appears to show a marked decrease in Russian strikes in the east. of the country since the arrival of Western reinforcements. .
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Ukraine launched a counter-offensive towards the city of Kherson.
Ukraine’s armed forces are vastly outnumbered by Russia. But with the introduction of new and sophisticated technologies and the perseverance of its soldiers in the field, resilient defenders could still turn the tide of war.
Ukraine notably launched a massive counter-offensive in the south of the country near Kherson. Using HIMARS and other artillery pieces, it severely disrupted Russian supply lines there.
This week, Ukraine’s HIMARS rendered the Antonivskyi Bridge unusable for military vehicles. The bridge is the easiest way to resupply the crucial city of Kherson, in which Russian forces have begun preparations for urban warfare as Ukrainian forces advance.
The Washington-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), said in an update on Friday that Russian forces were also likely to face “territorial losses” in the region.
He said: “Russian forces attempted a limited ground assault on the southern axis on July 28, but probably suffered territorial losses in Kherson Oblast.”
He added: “Russian forces are trying to preserve their land lines of communication on the Dnipro River connecting the city of Kherson with the rear areas of eastern Kherson Oblast.
“Russian forces established a ferry crossing under the Antonivskyi Bridge to allow passenger traffic to cross the Dnipro after Ukrainian strikes on July 27 rendered the bridge unusable.”