Ukrainian forces hit another Russian ammunition depot on Monday, producing another massive explosion. The strike took place in the Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka, in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region.
Ukrainian journalist Illia Ponomarenko shared a video of a massive explosion on Monday, tweeting, “Mother of god. Reportedly, a large Russian ammo depot in Nova Kahovka.”
Russia’s state-run TASS news agency initially reported this latest Ukrainian strike in Nova Kakhovka killed six people. The Russian news outlet later reported at least 90 people have sustained wounds from the strikes.
Another video that was taken in Nova Kakhovka, shows an even closer view of the explosion.
This is not the first time Ukrainian forces have apparently struck Russian ammunition depots in Ukraine. A video taken in June showed Russian forces and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists running from one piece of cover to another as a nearby ammunition depot exploded and devastated an area of the Ukrainian town of Khrustalnyi in the Luhansk region.
Numerous social media users speculated that the strike on the suspected ammunition depot this week was carried out by M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets donated to Ukraine by the U.S. in recent weeks.
The HIMARS uses satellites to direct its targeting, allowing it to deliver precision strikes. According to a fact sheet for the HIMARS by its manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the system can hit targets from 300km (186 miles) away.
The U.S. has already donated a handful of HIMARS systems to Ukraine and last week a U.S. defense official announced a transfer of weapons valued at $400 million for more of the rocket launchers. The transfer which will bring the total number of HIMARS systems in Ukraine to 12 and will provide new precision artillery rounds to Ukrainian artillery teams.
While Ukrainian forces have used HIMARS systems to target Russian ammunition depots and other high-value targets, the U.S. has asked for assurances from the Ukrainians that they won’t use the long-range rocket systems to strike targets inside of Russia.
Despite Ukrainian successes in disrupting Russian supply lines with HIMARS, Russian forces have made progress in eastern Ukraine. The defense official who announced the new $400 million weapons transfer, said Russian forces are making “very incremental, limited, hard-fought, highly costly progress.”
Ukraine continues to ask for additional aid from the west.
On July 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak tweeted, “[Ukrainian forces] need more heavy weapons to repel [Russian Federation: RF] aggression. With a sufficient number of howitzers, SPG and HIMARS, our soldiers are able to stop and drive the invaders from our land. Got to break RF’s scorched earth tactics. We need air and missile defenses to save thousands of lives.”