Ukraine Says Kherson HIMARS Strikes Successful, Could Signal Counter-Attack

Ukrainian officials said Monday that strikes using U.S.-supplied HIMARS weapons in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson overnight were successful and that it could pave the way for a counteroffensive to liberate the region.

Ukraine's "Kakhovka" task force credited High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) with assisting its troops in destroying almost all the large bridges in the southern Kherson region.

"The situation in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region is extremely difficult. Big and scary HIMARS have destroyed almost all the big bridges...", it said in a statement on Facebook, noting that only pedestrian crossings remain.

The move largely cuts Russia's forces off from vital supplies of weapons, military equipment and personnel from the annexed Crimea region, the task force said.

"For Ukraine, this is a brilliant chance to return its territories," the statement said.

Ukrainian serviceman Petro
Ukrainian serviceman Petro, 32, walks in a trench on a position held by the Ukrainian army between the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson on June 12, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian forces said Monday that strikes using U.S.-supplied HIMARS weapons in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson overnight were successful. GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

Kherson has been almost entirely under the control of Russian forces since the beginning of March when it became the first major city to be seized by Russian troops since the war began.

Key bridges of strategic importance to Russia including the Kakhovka Bridge and the Antonovsky Bridge have come under attack, as Ukraine looks to retake the city.

In recent weeks, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his troops were moving "step by step" towards full liberation of Kherson, the Ukrainian artillery, special forces and partisans have destroyed key Russian hubs, attacking vital railways and both bridges.

Serhiy Khlan, deputy of the Kherson Regional Council, said in a statement on Facebook Monday that Ukraine successfully breached the "first line of defense of the Russians on the Kherson front."

"Last night and in the first half of this day alone, Ukrainian Army strikes hit Kherson, Antonivka, Oleshky, Nova Kakhovka, Liubymivka, and Beryslav," Khlan wrote.

Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for Russia's defense ministry, said on Monday that its forces had intercepted HIMARS strikes in the Kherson region, according to Russia's independent Interfax news agency.

U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante said on Friday that the U.S. is accelerating HIMARS production to help Ukraine.

Ukraine is "effectively employing" HIMARS in its war against Russia, the Department of Defense said in a news release.

"As we continue providing security assistance to Ukraine, we are working with industry to accelerate production of critical weapons and systems," LaPlante said.

LaPlante added that U.S. officials "will continue to closely consult with Ukraine on capability needs–and as President Biden has said, our goal is straightforward: The United States wants to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression."

Newsweek has reached out to Russia's foreign ministry for comment.