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Fighting along the Dnieper River in Ukraine continues to escalate as Russia responds to Ukrainian advances by stepping up its bombing offensive on southern cities.

Russian forces overnight carried out two attacks on the city of Nikopol – located on the right bank of the strategically important river – raining about 60 bullets on the city’s electrical infrastructure and private homes, regional officials said Thursday.

The BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launch system was reportedly used in the bombing campaign although no civilians are believed to have been killed in the attacks.

A Russian military truck drives past unexploded ammunition during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Russian-controlled village of Chornobaivka, Ukraine, July 26, 2022. (REUTERS / Alexander Ermochenko)

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“The ‘Grad’ fire suppression systems destroyed twenty-seven private buildings, dozens of damaged houses, two private cars destroyed, damage to the electricity and gas grid, damaged buildings and equipment of three local companies in over 100 solar panels,” confirmed the Ukrainian operating agency. Command South in a Facebook update.

The command warned Thursday that as Ukrainian forces advance into southern Ukraine, Russian bombing is expected to increase.

“The situation in the Southern operational zone … is complex and dynamic in development, but the defense forces are keeping it under control,” the command said. “The enemy has no changes in composition and position, he holds the fortified defense boundary.”

The attack comes as Ukrainian troops attempt to push Russia back from the Kherson region, some 130 miles south of Nikopol.

A Ukrainian tank crew takes part in a training exercise with infantrymen on May 9, 2022, near Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine.

A Ukrainian tank crew takes part in a training exercise with infantrymen on May 9, 2022, near Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine.
(John Moore / Getty Images)

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Over the past week, Ukrainian forces have made some progress in the Kherson region by destroying several logistical routes that Russian forces relied on to connect their supply lines on the Dnieper River with the Crimean peninsula.

The UK Ministry of Defense has assessed that Russia is relying on at least two vulnerable ferry crossings now to transport its logistical needs across the river after the Antonovsky Bridge and a railway line were damaged by Ukrainian forces with the missile system of high mobility artillery supplied by the United States (HIMARS).

The Defense Ministry said Thursday that it believes Russian forces are using pyramid radar reflectors to protect themselves from Western missile systems.

“Radar reflectors will likely be used to hide the bridge from synthetic aperture radar imagery and possible missile targeting equipment,” the ministry said in an intelligence update. “This highlights the threat that Russia feels from the greater range and accuracy of the weapons provided by the West.”

Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command said Russia is relying on land artillery and coastal missile systems to hit civilian and military targets in Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers carry supplies to the frontline trenches between Mykolaiv and Kherson in Ukraine, March 22, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers carry supplies to the frontline trenches between Mykolaiv and Kherson in Ukraine, March 22, 2022.
(Salwan Georges / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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Ukraine has begun to make some progress against the Russian army with the help of Western-supplied artillery systems such as HIMARS.

However, officials have warned that these systems are not sufficient to effectively engage with Russia and cannot reach Russian forces firing on Ukraine from the Black Sea.

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