Ukrainian troops have reportedly established positions on the east bank of the Dnipro River, in the Russian-held southern Kherson region. Reports suggest that this move could be significant in future offensives and help Ukraine drive Russian troops back. While this could lead to Ukraine cutting the land corridor to Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, any advances would be complicated by the terrain and Russia’s significant advantage in the air. Although Moscow has denied reports of Ukrainian movement, US-based Institute for the Study of War says enough geolocated footage and text reports have confirmed the Ukrainian advance.
While the Institute for the Study of War has stated that there is not enough information to assess the scale of the reported Ukrainian advance, it notes that Ukraine’s military has been talking about preparations for a major counter-offensive for some time. The Ukrainian military has not confirmed the movement, while Russia has denied the reports. The Kherson region on the east bank of the Dnipro has been under Russian control, with the wide river serving as a natural barrier. Ukraine liberated the regional capital last November.
Russian troops destroyed the key Antonivskyi bridge over the Dnipro River when they were forced to withdraw last November. The region is crisscrossed by floodplains, irrigation canals and other water obstacles, making any Ukrainian troop movements in the area difficult. Ukraine’s military is preparing to counter-attack, but it requires “informational silence until it is safe enough for our military,” according to a Ukrainian military spokeswoman.