Ukraine HIMARS Eyeing New Russian Convoy Near Kherson, Crimea—Official

A local government official in Ukraine has boasted about the capabilities of U.S.-supplied weapons as his country's forces fight a counteroffensive against Russian troops in Kherson.

Former Ukrainian MP Sergey Khlan, who is currently an advisor to the regional governor of Kherson, referred to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) which have allowed Kyiv's forces to target Russian command centers and ammunition depots.

The weapons have been used to target bridges, including those on the approach to Kherson, which Ukraine is trying to reclaim.

Khlan said large columns of Russian equipment in Crimea are being sent towards "temporarily occupied Kherson."

HIMARS
A U.S. soldier walks by a HIMARS launcher vehicle, during a military exercise in southeastern Morocco on June 9, 2021. The weapons were namechecked by a Ukrainian official describing a counteroffensive against Russian troops in Kherson. FADEL SENNA/Getty Images

"It is important to make sure that this equipment is not moved to the front line. And here we are watching strikes on the Antonovsky Bridge again," he told Ukraine's Channel 24 in comments reported by Ukrainian media outlet UKRINFORM.

A month ago, Ukrainian forces struck the bridge over the Dnieper River which cut off Russian troops from Kherson.

The road and rail bridges were heavily damaged following HIMARS attacks, dealing a blow to Russian forces who cold not resupply their troops across the river.

"Let the columns only appear in the field of view of HIMARS," Khlan added, according to a translation, "and there will be another Brylivka [for the] occupiers."

This was a reference to footage shared on social media at the start of August of a train carrying Russian troops and ammunition being blown up by Ukrainian forces as it entered Kherson.

Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs, said a HIMARS strike "destroyed the railway echelon of more than 40 wagons" at the station.

On Monday, Khlan said Ukrainian forces had started a counteroffensive, telling the Pryamyi TV channel that there had been an artillery attacks on Russian positions throughout the Kherson region.

"This is the announcement ... we have been waiting for since the spring," he told the outlet, "it is the beginning of the de-occupation of the Kherson region."

On Tuesday, there were reports of gunfire and explosions in the city which was the first to fall to Russian forces following the invasion, with Moscow subsequently setting up political control there.

Kherson is of key strategic significance for both Russia and Ukraine. After Russia failed to seize the capital Kyiv and the second city of Kharkiv, the loss of the city would deal a considerable blow to Moscow.

As well as providing a launchpad for Ukrainian forces to retake Crimea which Russia seized in 2014, it is also agriculturally and economically significant and central to Ukraine's efforts to restart grain shipments through the Black Sea.