Ukraine claimed Friday the conquest of positions on the bank of the Dnieper occupied by the Russians, in the south of the country, a first success with a view to more important operations after months of a counter-offensive disappointing for Kiev.
Ukrainian forces “carried out a series of successful actions on the left bank of the Dnieper River” in the Kherson region (south), the marine command said on Facebook.
“Ukrainian naval troops, in cooperation with other units of the defense forces, managed to gain a foothold on several bridgeheads” in this area, assured their command, noting “heavy losses” among the enemy.
This is the first success claimed by the Ukrainians for their counter-offensive since the recapture of the village of Robotyné in August, in the southern region of Zaporizhia.
Kiev hoped that this reconquest would allow it to break through the Russian lines and liberate the occupied areas, but the Ukrainian army did not succeed, faced with the firepower of the Russian defenses.
Taking positions on the left bank of the Dnieper could allow a larger assault towards the south. But for this, Ukraine must succeed in deploying a large number of men, vehicles and equipment in a difficult to access, sandy and marshy area.
So far, the head of the administration presidential candidate, Andriï Iermak, had only indicated on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces had “established a foothold on the left bank of the Dnieper”, without further details.
Ukraine keeps the scale of current operations, its successes and its losses secret. The Kremlin and the Russian Defense Ministry refuse to comment on the subject.
On the other hand, on Wednesday, the leader of the occupied part of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, admitted that several dozen or hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers had managed to anchor positions on the left bank of the Dnieper, especially around the village of Krynky.
– Hell of fire –
He downplayed the importance of this advance, saying that Russian reinforcements had been deployed and that Ukrainian forces were suffering “hell of fire”.
In this area of southern Ukraine, the Dnieper has served as a front line since the Russian army withdrew from the city of Kherson, on the right bank, in November 2022.
Russia continues to shell the city and its region on a daily basis. Regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported Thursday that a woman had been killed in the night. Two other women, injured the day before in Russian strikes, died in hospital from their injuries, according to the same source.
While for a year the front has been more or less frozen, it is essential to gain ground for Kiev, which wants to avoid the effect of weariness among its Western allies towards a conflict which has lasted for almost two years, at a time when the eyes of the international community are turned towards Israel and the Gaza Strip.
– Concerns around Western aid –
The war between Israel and Hamas has resulted in a slowdown in deliveries of shells to Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a small group of media including AFP on Thursday: “Our supplies have decreased “.
And German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius warned this week that the European Union will not be able to deliver a million munitions to Ukraine before spring, as it s was committed to it.
Ukraine is extremely dependent on the arms and ammunition that the Americans and Europeans deliver to it, and the question of a reduction in economic and military support is being raised in certain countries.
The Kremlin, for its part, claims to have reoriented the economy on the production of arms and munitions and recruited some 400,000 additional soldiers since the start of the year.
Another concern for Kiev, Russian forces are on the offensive in several other sectors , their main efforts aimed, despite significant losses, at surrounding and conquering Avdiïvka, an industrial town in the east.
In addition, with autumn setting in and winter approaching, Ukraine fears a new Russian bombing campaign to destroy its energy infrastructure and plunge the population into darkness and cold .
The Ukrainian Air Force said on Friday that it had shot down nine of the 10 Shahed explosive drones launched by Russia towards the center and south of the country overnight.
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