In the Cherson region, Ukraine now appears to be advancing on the banks of the Dnipro River that had been captured by the Russian invaders. That could still be important for an offensive by the defenders.
Cherson – According to analyzes by western experts, Ukrainian troops have now also advanced on the bank of the Dnipro River, which was previously controlled by Russian occupiers, in the partially liberated Cherson region. According to the US Institute for War Studies (ISW), published geodata and texts by Russian military bloggers show that the Ukrainian armed forces have taken positions on the left or east bank in the Kherson region.
However, the extent and goals of these Ukrainian successes, which have been registered for the first time, are unclear. During a Ukrainian offensive in the fall, the Russian military had completely withdrawn from the region’s capital, Cherson, and parts of the region from the west bank of the Dnipro. The aim was to prevent the Ukrainian troops from advancing to the other side of the river.
Russians deny Ukrainian advance
Meanwhile, Russia’s governor in the Kherson region has denied the US think tank’s statements that Ukrainian troops have taken up positions on the east bank of the Dnipro River. This is not the case, writes Wladimir Saldo on Telegram. “Our military completely controls the territory.” It could happen that enemy sabotage groups land and take selfies “before they are destroyed or pushed into the water by our fighters”. A spokesman for the southern Ukrainian military command would neither confirm nor deny the information provided by the institute.
The new development would indicate a loss of control by Russian units in the region. Accordingly, the Russian occupiers could only concentrate on cities. Citing Russian bloggers, who also repeatedly criticize their own military, the ISW experts already see solid supply lines to the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Successes could pave way to Crimea
Ukraine had always declared that it would liberate all areas occupied by Russian troops. If the region were conquered from the Cherson region, the path would be clear for the Ukrainian army to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia. The General Staff in Kiev reported artillery attacks from the Ukrainian-controlled Kherson region on Sunday. There, 35 towns were shelled by Russian artillery.
The ISW experts also assume that the Russian military will not push through with recommendations to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin to concentrate on defending positions. Instead of concentrating on gathering forces against the background of the planned large-scale Ukrainian offensive, there have been frequent attacks that have resulted in losses and hardly any territorial gains, it said.
“The continued insistence on Russian offensives in eastern Ukraine suggests that the group seeking to freeze the war along the current front lines has not fully convinced Putin of their point of view,” the analysis said.
The ISW experts suspect that this is one of the reasons why the Defense Ministry in Moscow has repeatedly come to terms with the head of the Russian private army, Wagner, in order to use him to get to Putin. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is considered a close confidante of Putin – and a man of open words.
Moscow claims to have advanced further in Bakhmut
Meanwhile, Russian units are making headway in their attempt to fully capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to the Defense Ministry in Moscow. They therefore took two more blocks in the west of the city, which had been heavily contested for months. Airborne units would also provide reinforcements in the north and south. Ukraine, however, reported that a total of around 45 attacks had been repulsed there with losses for the enemy. Several Russian attacks were also reported from Marjinka.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russian troops are again preparing to storm the city of Wuhledar. The town in the southwest of Donetsk Oblast has repeatedly come under heavy fire in the past few days, regional military spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky said on Ukrainian state television on Sunday. On Saturday alone, the city was attacked six times by the Russian air force.
“The enemy is pursuing scorched earth tactics,” Dmitrashkovsky said. “This is to ensure our defenders don’t find positions to defend themselves.” A tank-reinforced Russian elite unit of marines suffered heavy casualties attempting to take the Wuhledar area in a three-week offensive in February. (APA, dpa, Reuters)
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