Ukrainian Forces Cross Dnipro River, Establish Positions in Kherson Oblast: A Significant Development in the Russo-Ukrainian War
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has reported that Ukrainian forces have taken up positions on the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast, a significant development in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War. The ISW cited geolocated footage and Russian sources as evidence of the Ukrainian presence, which Russian military bloggers claim has been established for several weeks with stable supply lines and regular sorties in the area. The ISW suggests that this could indicate a lack of Russian control over the region, particularly the islands in the Kinka and Chaika rivers less than half a kilometre north of the Ukrainian positions. The extent and intent of the Ukrainian positions remain unclear, and it is uncertain whether Ukraine has the ability and willingness to maintain them, the ISW stated.
This advancement comes amid expectations that Ukraine is preparing for a counter-offensive to push back on Russian positions and reclaim as much territory as possible. The crossing of the Dnipro River marks the first time Ukrainian soldiers have entered Russian-occupied territory since the early days of the invasion, and analysts believe that the established positions could be used to launch attacks deeper into Russian-occupied areas, potentially as far as Crimea.
The battle for Kherson is considered critical for control of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Reports of a possible Ukrainian advance in the south come nearly half a year after Ukraine liberated Kherson and the west bank of the Dnipro River in the fall of 2022. The Russian soldiers in retreat have escaped to the eastern side of the bank. Following reports of a partial Russian retreat in the region, the crossing of the Dnipro River – which has been the front line since Russian forces withdrew from Kherson city in November – has taken place.
The extent and intent of the Ukrainian positions remain unclear, and it is uncertain whether Ukraine has the ability and willingness to maintain them. However, this development is a significant step forward for Ukraine in the ongoing conflict, and it could be the first tentative steps towards launching a long-awaited spring offensive to reclaim more territory.
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