Ukrainian forces continue their counter-offensive in Kharkiv

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A bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River, northeast of Rubizhne, Ukraine, on May 12. (BlackSky)

As Russian forces retreated due to a sustained Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, three bridges critical to the continued Ukrainian advance were blown up, satellite images from BlackSky and the Agency show. European space.

Black Sky images, taken on May 12, show collapsed sections of bridges crossing the Siverskyi Donets River near the villages of Rubizhne and Staryi Saltiv, which lie about 16 km south of the Russian border.

The village of Rubizhne is close to Staryi Saltiv, although it shares the same name with the town further south in Luhansk.

A bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River, east of Staryi Saltiv, Ukraine, on May 12
A bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River, east of Staryi Saltiv, Ukraine, May 12 (BlackSky)

The villages were recently liberated by Ukrainian forces.

Another satellite image, taken on May 8 by the European Space Agency, shows that the bridge across the Pecheneg hydroelectric power plant – the nearest bridge to the south – also exploded.

There are only two smaller bridges to the north, in the currently Russian-occupied villages of Ohirtseve and Buhrukuvatka, that cross the river. Their current status is unknown, as clouds have obscured any recent satellite imagery.

Why bridges are important: If these bridges are compromised, the momentum of the Ukrainian advance will be significantly hampered.

It is not just momentum that is important to Ukrainian forces. The main Russian supply lines, vital to the Russian military advance near the town of Izium and in the Luhansk region, lie just east of the Siverskyi Donets river in the Kharkiv region.

Although it is unclear exactly when the bridges were destroyed or who was responsible, it is unlikely that the Ukrainians were responsible for their destruction. Bridges are simply too vital for their counter-offensive and for targeting supply lines.

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