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General: Some bridges in south were not mined, most weren't destroyed ahead of Russian invasion

by Martin Fornusek September 18, 2023 6:19 PM 2 min read
View of the Antonivsky bridge, from Antonivka, near Kherson on Nov. 22, 2022. The Russians occupy the other side of the Dnipro River. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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The bridges connecting occupied Crimea in Kherson Oblast were mined but were not destroyed at the start of the full-scale invasion, and bridges over the Dnipro River in Kherson and Nova Kakhovka were not mined at all, General Andrii Sokolov said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda on Sept. 18.

When asked why up to a dozen river crossings in Kherson Oblast, as well as those at the Chonhar Strait, were not blown up to prevent Russian forces from using them, the former commander of the southern grouping of forces said that Russia was actively preventing these efforts.

"You have to understand that the enemy realizes the importance of these bridges and crossings, and is also taking measures," Sokolov said.

The general added that attempts to blow up the bridges have been made, and that a Ukrainian sailor managed to partially destroy a bridge in Henichesk at the cost of his life.

Sokolov noted that the crossings should have been detonated long before Russian forces reached them. Once the invading troops managed to establish positions near the bridges, they could open fire to prevent attempts at destroying them.

Commenting on why some of the bridges were not mined at all, Sokolov said he "could not have any influence on the process of mining bridges in Kherson."

"Because I did not even have the material to mine them. I also needed equipment, time, and people who would carry out the mining," Sokolov said.

Russia captured Kherson and much of the adjacent oblast during the first weeks of the full-scale war, making it the first and only regional center Moscow conquered since Feb. 24, 2022.

According to Sokolov, Ukrainian forces in the south counted only 1,500 troops facing 20,000 Russian soldiers, who also possessed an advantage in artillery, aircraft, and other equipment.

Ukraine retook Kherson and the right bank of Kherson Oblast during a counteroffensive last fall.

How Russia’s humiliating defeat in Kherson came to be
The Russian defeat in Kherson Oblast was almost inevitable — but it happened sooner than many expected. The Nov. 9 announcement on Russia’s “uneasy decision” to leave Kherson, voiced by General Sergei Surovikin, has drawn the line under a months-long Ukrainian effort to undermine the Russian presen…
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