But what are the Ukrainians doing along the Dnieper? The question torments the military and Western analysts. While the positions between the belligerents freeze all along the front line, “violent fighting” have been taking place for several weeks on the left bank of the river, invested by Moscow’s troops in February 2022 and occupied since.
kyiv forces “carried out a series of successful actions” between the dam – destroyed in June of this year – of Nova Kahkovka and the mouth of the Dnieper, assured, Friday November 17, the command of the Ukrainian marine infantry, claiming the capture of “several bridgeheads” in this area and “heavy losses” inflicted on the enemy.
In fact, the Ukrainians have been carrying out operations in this region for almost a year. Since the liberation of the city of Kherson in November 2022 and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the right bank of the Dnieper, small detachments have regularly crossed the river, using inflatable boats, in order to reconnoitre enemy positions. “They come to map the banks and beaches, in particular to determine the position of Russian river mines”, explains Stéphane Audrand, international risk consultant and reserve officer. Most often, they act at night, to avoid detection by enemy drones, and withdraw after a few hours.
But since June, these incursions have increased and, above all, the Ukrainians have begun to hold positions on the ground. A first fixation point was first spotted at the foot of the Antonivsky road bridge, northwest of Kherson. Then other soldiers invested the area of the railway bridge of the same name, located a little further upstream of the river. Each time, these infrastructures, which were partly destroyed during the Russian withdrawal, allowed the Ukrainians to shelter from response strikes, while the region is mainly made up of marshes and sandy heaths, with little relief for to hide or take shelter.
The left bank of the Dnieper is poorly defended
Throughout the summer and since the beginning of autumn, Kiev’s troops then moved up the river, taking positions as far as the town of Krynky, located not far from the old Nova Khakovka dam.
In total, several hundred soldiers would today occupy a strip around fifty kilometers long and wide “three to eight kilometers”, assured, on November 19, an army spokesperson, Natalia Goumeniouk. If these figures are confirmed, it would be the most important advance of the Ukrainian army since its attempt, for the moment aborted, to break through the Russian fortification lines in the south of the country, particularly near the village of Robotyne.
You have 60% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.
Gn Fr world