Ukraine struck the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol on Wednesday, damaging the city’s railroad station and fractioning power supplies as talk of a counter-attack against depleted Russian forces gains traction.
Ukrainian shelling damaged the power supply system and knocked out electricity in the city and some nearby villages, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported, citing Moscow-installed leaders in the area.
Ivan Fedorov, the exiled Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, confirmed several explosions had taken place in the city.
Melitopol, located south of the Zaporizhzhia region and about 60 miles from the war’s front lines, is one of five Ukrainian provinces Russia claims it has seized.
Russian officials said the railway depot in the city was also damaged in the strike. Melitopol is a railway logistics hub for Russian forces in southern Ukraine, linking Russia to the occupied Crimea peninsula.
Six Ukrainian HIMARS rockets were used in the early morning attack, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Russian-appointed military in Zaporizhzhia, told CNN.
Russian defenses shot down three of the rockets, but the remaining three hit a railway, an electricity substation and the railway depot. Fragments of the downed missiles fell at the airfield, according to Rogov, who noted there were no casualties reported from the strike.
Wednesday’s strike could debilitate Moscow’s forces at a time Ukraine is already looking to take advantage of Russian troops’ weakened state. Months have passed without a big Russian victory despite their aggressive offensives and some of the bloodiest battles yet since the start of the war.
Last week one of Ukraine’s top commanders said Kyiv would commence its highly-anticipated retribution against Russian forces “very soon.”
Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, dragged Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries on social media, noting the troops are “losing considerable strength and are running out of steam.”
“Very soon, we will take advantage of this opportunity, as we did in the past near Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balakliya and Kupiansk,” he said.
Despite their forces dwindling, Russia has not seemed to have been deterred, Syrskyi noted.
“The aggressor does not give up hope at any price to take Bakhmut, regardless of the losses in manpower or equipment,” he said.
With Post wires.