Ukrainian officials have said that Russia’s presence in the southern Kherson region and parts of Zaporizhzhia is becoming more tenuous as supply lines are targeted daily by Ukrainian long-range systems, many of them supplied by Western allies.
Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of occupied Melitopol, said that the destruction of a railway bridge south-west of the city at the weekend had further complicated Russian resupply routes.
Fedorov said on Ukrainian television that “the enemy uses Melitopol as a logistics center for the transportation, trans-shipment of ammunition and heavy weapons. The enemy transports most of the ammunition by rail. On the night August 13 - August 14, a railway bridge was blown up. The enemy still cannot restore it; the rubble is being dismantled.”
Fedorov, who is not in Melitopol, also claimed: “We see the migration of military personnel from Kherson to Melitopol. Military personnel take their families out of Melitopol.”
He said the Russians had stepped up security in Melitopol, which is in Zaporizhzhia region, checking the local population. “Mass filtering of local civilians continues in Melitopol, in people’s homes, on the streets,” he said.
Fedorov added that the Russian security service (FSB), the Russian reserve guards and special Chechen units were present in Melitopol.
He said that up to 6,000 people were waiting in line for evacuation.
“People wait for five to seven days, spend the night on the roadsides. It is faster to leave through the Crimea, people use this route as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Serhii Khlan, advisor to the head of Kherson Civil Military Administration, told Ukrainian television on Monday that continuing attacks by Ukrainian forces on bridges across the river Dnipro had caused serious difficulties for Russian forces.
“The impossibility of (the Russians) supplying ammunition allows us to say that if they cannot resolve the issue of crossing to the Dnipro right bank in the next two weeks, then they will have no other opportunity than to leave their positions.”
A substantial part of the Russian occupying force is on the right (northern) bank of the Dnipro, in Kherson city and further upstream.
Khlan claimed that the Russians had moved their command headquarters to the southern bank of the Dnipro.
Operational Command South said on Sunday that the main highway connection – the Antonivskyi bridge – was hit again. Social media video showed a series of detonations at one end of the bridge, which links southern Kherson with the region’s capital city.
Khlan said Ukrainian civilians continue to leave Kherson, even though travel has become more difficult.
He said 40% of the Ukrainians trying to get through the only official transit point to Ukrainian-held territory (at Vasylivka) were residents of the Kherson region. “Every day, between 700 and 2,000 people leave the occupied territories,” he said.