At the start of the war, Russian troops quickly overran the Kherson region just north of the Crimean peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014. They faced Ukrainian counterattacks, but largely held their ground.
The precise targeting of the bridge contrasted with Russia’s indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas since the invasion five months ago.
The governor of Dnipropetrovsk in central-eastern Ukraine said on Wednesday that Russian forces hit two areas with artillery. Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said that in the town of Marhanets a woman was injured and several apartment buildings, a hospital and a school were damaged by shelling.
“The chaotic shelling has no other purpose than to sow panic and fear among the civilian population,” he said.
The Ukrainian attacks on the Kherson Bridge come as the bulk of Russian forces are locked in fighting in eastern Ukraine’s industrial heartland, the Donbass, where they have made slow progress in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance .
Russian forces maintained their artillery barrage in the eastern Donetsk region, targeting towns and villages, according to regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
“The Russian military is using scorched earth tactics to attack Ukrainian cities,” Kyrylenko said in televised remarks.
He said the region is without gas or electricity, while water supplies to some areas have also been cut off.
In Bakhmut, a key town on the front line of the Russian offensive, the shelling damaged a hotel and caused casualties, Kyrylenko said. A rescue operation was underway.
Amid Moscow’s efforts to take full control of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, the Russians have gained marginal ground northeast of Bakhmut, according to a Washington DC-based think tank.
However, Russian forces are unlikely to occupy significant additional territory in Ukraine “before early fall”, the Institute for the Study of Warfare said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed Russian military casualties had climbed to nearly 40,000, adding that tens of thousands more had been wounded and maimed. His claim could not be independently verified.
The Russian military last reported its losses in March, when it said 1,351 soldiers had been killed in action and 3,825 wounded.