The Ukrainian army cuts off Russian supplies in southern Ukraine

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Ukraine war

The air in the south is getting thinner: the Ukrainian army cuts off Russian supplies near the occupied city of Cherson

The Ukrainian armed forces are gaining ground in southern Ukraine. In doing so, they use Russia’s concentration on the Donbass. However, preparations for grain export from Ukrainian ports are proving difficult for various reasons.

A Ukrainian artillery gun in action. The Ukrainian armed forces have been able to gain ground in the south-east of the country. In the Donbass, on the other hand, the Russian army is advancing on several axes towards the city of Kramatorsk.

key stone

The Russian army’s supply routes from the occupied Crimean peninsula are impassable. This after a targeted rocket attack by the Ukrainian army, which was directed against the strategically important Antonivka Bridge in the west of the city of Kherson. This leaves the Russian occupiers of the oblast of the same name, which stretches on both sides of the Dnipro, only to cross the Nova Kachowka dam wall, which is around 40 kilometers to the north.

The Ukrainian armed forces are said to have advanced to within about 10 kilometers of the city of Cherson itself. This marks the greatest success of the Ukrainian army since the recapture of the oblast ordered by Volodymyr Zelensky. In early March, the Antonivka Bridge secured the Russian troops advancing from the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed in 2014, the rapid conquest of Cherson and the onward march in the west of the oblast to within five kilometers of the port city of Mykolaev.

In addition to the road bridge, the Ukrainians also damaged the parallel railway bridge. Video recordings from residents of the occupied area show the extensive damage. The success of the Ukrainian army is probably also due to the use of the Himars multiple rocket launchers, which were only recently supplied by the USA. According to the will of the US Congress, the first dozen of the very expensive US missile systems will soon be joined by 30 more HIMARS.

So far, the Ukrainians have only managed to recapture a few villages in the very west of the oblast. In a week-long guerrilla war, they pushed back the Russian front up to 20 kilometers to the south-east. In doing so, they use the concentration of the Russian army on the Donbass. There, the Russians advanced on several axes towards the administrative center of Kramatorsk, which was still controlled by Kyiv.

The Ukrainian industrial city of Avdievka was heavily shelled. On the border to the Lukansk Oblast, which was almost completely conquered by the Russians, the huge coal-fired power station of Wulehirsk was captured by Russian troops by Thursday. Another painful loss of territory for Kyiv.

Preparations for grain export difficult

However, the preparations for exporting grain via the Black Sea continue to be difficult. There are still a few obstacles to be removed for a de facto export from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Yuzhne and Chornomorsk. Although the Ukraine has enough ocean-going ships to transport the targeted 20 million tons of grain, most of the transport corridors are still mined and therefore impassable.

Ukrainian firefighters are fighting a fire after Russian missiles hit the port of Odessa.

Ukrainian firefighters are fighting a fire after Russian missiles hit the port of Odessa.

key stone

Since the beginning of the war, 80 ships have been stuck in Ukrainian ports, many of them flying the Ukrainian flag, but the sailors are apparently missing. Of the 2,000 seafarers who were initially stranded, three quarters have now been evacuated. Added to this is the massively increased sum insured for ocean-going ships in the Black Sea. Especially after the rockets on the port of Odessa, confidence in Moscow that cargo ships would no longer be attacked has fallen again.

According to estimates, Ukraine has up to 8,000 sailors on the world seas who would perhaps work in Ukraine for higher wages. But since they are conscripted, many will avoid returning home. Corresponding provisions are now to be relaxed in Kyiv. But all this takes time; just as clearing mines on the sea routes also takes time.