A group of Ukrainian marines sail from the bank of the Dnipro River on the front line near Kherson, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. AP - Alex BabenkoA group of Ukrainian marines sail from the bank of the Dnipro River on the front line near Kherson, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. AP - Alex Babenko

After many months of a hitherto ineffective counter-offensive, Ukraine has regained positions on the Russian-occupied bank of the Dnipro. Kiev claims that the fighting has been repeated every day and is “violent”.

(RFI) Ukrainian forces “successfully carried out a series of actions on the left bank of the Dnipro River” in the Kherson region (south), the commander of the Navy infantry said on Facebook, citing “heavy losses” for the enemy. The General Staff confirmed the advances and added that “violent fighting, sabotage, attack and reconnaissance operations” were underway in the region.

The aim is to “push the enemy as far away as possible” from the river to prevent them from invading the city of Kherson and other Ukrainian-controlled towns on the right bank, the General Staff said.

This was the first success of Ukraine’s counter-offensive since the retaking of the town of Robotyne in August, in the southern region of Zaporijia. Kiev hopes that this recapture will allow it to advance on the Russian front lines and liberate the occupied zones, something that the Kiev army has not yet been able to do in the face of Russian war power and defense lines.

Strong Russian resistance

The seizure of positions on the southern bank of the Dnipro could favor a retaking of the south – but for that to happen, Ukraine must involve a greater number of men, vehicles and equipment in this difficult-to-access, sandy and marshy area.

The operation looks difficult. The Ukrainian General Staff pointed to “strong enemy resistance” on the bank of the river occupied by Russian forces, arranged in “a fairly significant line of fortifications”.

After days of silence, the Russian army said on Friday that it had inflicted “heavy losses” throughout the week on the forces trying to advance on the bank it occupies, without mentioning the Ukrainian performance.

“In the Kherson sector (south), on the right bank of the Dnipro and during an attempt to land on an island, the adversary lost more than 460 soldiers killed or wounded, two tanks and 17 vehicles,” the Defense Ministry said in its statement, which refers to the period from November 11 to 17.

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 Dnipro, in particular around the village of Krynky. But he downplayed the importance of these advances.

In this area of southern Ukraine, the Dnipro has served as the front line since the Russian army withdrew from the city of Kherson in November 2022. Russia continues to bombard the city and its region on a daily basis.

The regional governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, reported on Thursday (16) that a woman was killed during the night. Two other women, wounded the previous day in Russian attacks, died in hospital from their injuries, according to the same source.

Concerns about Western aid

The Russian-Ukrainian front has been relatively paralyzed for about a year – and the war between Israel and Hamas doesn’t help Kiev maintain the interest of its Western allies in the conflict, which began in February 2022. Ukraine is trying to avoid the effects of fatigue in the face of a conflict that has lasted almost two years, while the eyes of the international community are focused on the Gaza Strip.

The war between Israel and Hamas has resulted in a slowdown in bomb deliveries to Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a small group of journalists, including AFP, on Thursday. “Our supplies have decreased,” he stressed.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius warned this week that the European Union would not be able to deliver one million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine before spring, as it had pledged to do.

Ukraine is extremely dependent on arms and ammunition supplied to it by the Americans and Europeans, 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 refocused the economy on arms and ammunition production and recruited around 400,000 additional soldiers since the beginning of the year.

With AFP *** Translated by DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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