Long-range rockets of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF) struck a Russian Federation (RF) ammunition depot in the southern city of Nova Kakhovka, detonating hundreds of munitions and setting massive fires, news and official reports said Tuesday, July 12.

At least six precision-guided rockets fired from a US-manufactured HIMARS weapons system slammed into the military base and warehousing around 11 P.M. on Monday, July 11, Serhiy Khlan, a spokesman for the Kyiv-affiliated Kherson regional defense command, said in a statement.

Both Ukrainian and RF-associated social media following the strikes showed images of a ball of orange flame billowing over the site moments after an explosion, and a mushroom-shaped cloud billowing into the night sky. According to Khlan, initial and secondary blasts blew out apartment building windows a distance of two kilometers from the base.


Ukrainian independent news reports, citing local sources, said the RF base in Nova Kakhovka contained fuel tanker trucks, dozens of other vehicles and at least 200 heavy artillery rockets delivered over the last three days. Fires were still burning and secondary explosions were still taking place six hours after the strike, some reports said.

RF-affiliated media sources claimed the site was a civilian storage facility containing a large quantity of saltpeter, and that neither RF military equipment nor soldiers were anywhere near the location. As many as six civilians died from the explosions and flying debris, the pro-Moscow Readovka news platform reported.

Vladimir Leontiev, head of the Kremlin-controlled state administration of Nova Kakhovka, claimed a warehouse containing humanitarian aid was also badly damaged in the blast.

A statement from the Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) on the morning of July 12 said UAF reconnaissance units confirmed the near-total destruction of the ammo depot, and at least 52 RF military casualties as a result of the strikes.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukraine’s Presidential Administration, in televised comments made public prior to the Nova Kakhovka strike, said that since Saturday, July 9, UAF have launched at least 30 precision strikes using HIMARS rockets, targeting primarily RF ammunition storage sites and military headquarters.


Roman Tsymbaliuk, a high-profile Ukrainian journalist, said a particularly devastating strike against the headquarters of the RF’s 20th Motor Rifle Division, in the Kherson sector, killed the division commander, Colonel Aleksei Gorobets, and eight other senior staff from the division.

Another missile reportedly struck the headquarters of the 22nd Army Corps, killed the Major General commanding the Corps’ operational planning section, killing or wounding at least eight other senior officers, and more RF service personnel were either killed or injured in the strike, Tsymbaliuk said. Major Ukrainian news media confirmed Tsymbaliuk’s report, citing UAF military sources.

In a Wall Street Journal interview published on July 11, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the recently-delivered US-made HIMARS system, with its long range and precision-guided munitions, has given the UAF long-awaited capacity to strike deep into RF-controlled territory and hit the RF army at two weak points: command and control facilities and logistics hubs. According to news reports, 12 systems had reached Ukraine by early July.


Reznikov said that if Ukraine is to reconquer territory lost to the Kremlin it badly needs a hundred more, not a dozen, long-range rocket systems like HIMARS or the similar US-manufactured M270 rocket artillery carrier. Rockets used by both systems and available to Ukraine have a maximum range of 70 kilometers.

Reznikov and other Ukrainian officials have argued the US should give Ukraine its longest range rockets, some of which have a range of 350 km. Opponents, among them Kremlin spokesmen, have said Washington’s transfer to Ukraine of long-range rockets would give Kyiv the capability of striking deep into Russia, and so possibly trigger Russian aggression.

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