In a significant shift in the ongoing conflict, Ukrainian forces have successfully crossed the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, a move that could reshape the battlefield dynamics. This development marks a new phase in Ukraine's strategy to regain control over its territory.
The Dnieper River, known as the Dnipro in Ukrainian, has long served as a natural barrier in the region. With Ukrainian forces previously stationed on its west bank and Russian forces occupying the east, the recent crossings by Ukraine signal a notable escalation.
Ukrainian units have established small but strategic areas of control in settlements such as Krynky, Pishchanivka, and Poyma, all located on the river's east bank.
Ukrainian Advantages and Russian Counterattacks
Despite facing repeated Russian counterattacks, Ukrainian troops have managed to hold these positions. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has reported ongoing operations by Kyiv's forces in these areas, with a particular focus on expanding their zone of control near Krynky, situated around 18 miles northeast of Kherson City.
According to reports and analyses, including insights from the War Gonzo Telegram channel, a popular Russian military blog, the prime objective for Ukrainian forces appears to be the strategic M-14 highway.
This crucial roadway connects major cities in southern Ukraine, running through Kherson to occupied Melitopol and along the Sea of Azov coastline to the Russian border. Ukrainian forces in Krynky and Poyma are reportedly less than 3 miles from this key highway.
Russian "Land Bridge" and Ukrainian Counter Efforts
The so-called "land bridge," a swath of occupied Ukrainian territory linking Crimea to Russia, stands as a significant achievement for Russian forces. However, the Ukrainian army has been consistently attempting to penetrate this corridor through the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk fronts.
Ivan Stupak, a former officer in the Security Service of Ukraine and now an advisor to the Ukrainian parliament's national security committee, shared his perspectives on the situation.
He noted that Ukrainian forces have been striving to establish a presence on the east bank for several months. Stupak expressed confidence in the potential success of the current operation, highlighting the deployment of about 300 well-trained Ukrainian marines in the region, along with heavy equipment like German-made mobile bridges.
While capturing the M-14 highway is a critical immediate goal, Stupak suggests that the ultimate aim might extend further. The Ukrainian forces could potentially push through occupied Kherson Oblast to reach the Black Sea port of Skadovsk. This maneuver would effectively cut off Russian forces defending the Kinburn Spit, further intensifying the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the region.
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