UKRAINE: Situation report day 148
July 21, 2022 - Russia’s “tasks” in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbas region, raising the possibility that President Vladimir Putin plans to annex large areas of occupied Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told RIA Novosti, the Russian state news agency, on Wednesday (July 20, 2022) that the Kremlin’s objectives would expand further if the West continued supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons such as the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
“That means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line,” Lavrov said.
The U.S. has supplied a dozen HIMARS, allowing Ukraine to strike ammunition dumps and other strategic targets deep behind the front lines. On Wednesday, the United States promised to deliver another four launchers.
Ukrainian forces have stepped up attacks on key Russian targets around the Russian-controlled southern city of Kherson, raising the possibility of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. The port, which fell to Russian forces in early March, is a staging ground for Russia’s military operations across southern Ukraine.
An attempt to recapture the city would have enormous strategic value for the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky and mark a significant shift in the war.
Over the past 48 hours, Ukraine has continued to pound the area around the Antonivskyi Bridge -- a major Russian supply route from Crimea over the Dnipro River.
Ukraine also said on Wednesday that its forces had destroyed a Russian radar system in Kherson using HIMARS fired from more than 100km away (60 miles) -- a day after Ukraine’s air force command said it had shot down a Russian warplane above agricultural land in Kherson and struck depots that resupply Russian forces west of the Dnipro River.
Ukrainian forces also said they had destroyed 17 vehicles, some armoured, and killed more than 100 Russian soldiers.