Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia intends to maintain control over broader regions beyond eastern Ukraine, including Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces in the south, and other areas. He made these statements on state-controlled television and a news agency after Ukrainian troops fired a bridge essential to the supply of Russian forces operating in southern Ukraine.

Lavrov’s remarks on Russia’s plans to occupy more territories and the Ukrainian missile attack on the strategically vital bridge in the Kherson region hinted that the nearing five-month-long war could spread to other parts of the country.

Since Russian forces captured more of the two provinces that comprise Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, Ukrainian officials planned an offensive to retake Russian-occupied areas in the south. The Ukrainian attack on the Dnipro River bridge also weakened Russia’s stronghold on the southern Kherson territory.

According to Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of a temporary administration formed by Russia to manage the region, the Ukrainian military attacked the Antonovsky Bridge utilizing HIMARS multiple rocket launchers supplied by the US. The Russian army uses the bridge, which spans 1.4 kilometers or 0.9 miles, as the primary river crossing in the Kherson region to supply their troops. Due to the damage sustained by the bridge, pontoons would be installed over the waterway, also known as the Dnieper. The bridge could still be used for foot traffic and light vehicles, but heavily laden transports or tanks would probably collapse the weakened span.  The fact that Ukraine did chose not to destroy this important piece of infrastructure completely strongly suggests they believe they will have it back under their control intact at some point.