Russia’s defense ministry Friday said it had thwarted attempts by Ukrainian troops to establish a foothold on the Russian-controlled bank of the Dnipro River in south Ukraine.
Russian and Ukrainian forces have been standing off on opposite sides of the vast river in the Kherson region for almost a year, following a Russian withdrawal from the river’s right — western — bank last November.
“The enemy conducted a number of unsuccessful attempts to establish a foothold on the islands and left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro river,” Russia’s defense ministry said Friday in a daily briefing.
However, Russian military bloggers said Ukrainian troops had managed to cross the river and were still in position on the Russian-controlled side.
A video shared Friday on Telegram by the WarGonzo channel, which is close to Russia’s military, claimed to show Russian forces shelling Ukrainian troops in the darkness as they landed near the village of Krynky. It said fighting in the region was ongoing.
Another post by the Rybar channel — which also has connections to Russian forces — said Thursday evening that Ukrainian troops had managed to strengthen their positions in the village and were continuing to advance on the Russian-controlled side of the river.
AFP was not able to immediately verify the claims.
There was no comment from Ukrainian officials on whether troops had crossed the river.
“We can’t comment on this, we are maintaining an informational silence … in order not to disturb our defence forces,” Yuriy Sobolevsky, first deputy chairman of the Kherson region council, said at a press conference Friday.
The Institute for the Study of War said Friday “Ukrainian forces likely maintain a limited presence in some east bank areas near the Dnipro River shoreline.”
NEW: Russian sources continued to discuss larger-than-usual Ukrainian ground operations on the east (left) bank of #Kherson Oblast on October 19, and Ukrainian forces likely maintain a limited presence in some east bank areas near the #Dnipro River shoreline and the Antonivsky… pic.twitter.com/tMDuJXUIr1
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) October 19, 2023
Ukrainian troops have made several attempts to cross the Dnipro over the last year, though they have not managed to establish a significant foothold in the face of Russian resistance.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky was in the Kherson region Friday for a meeting with the country’s most senior military commanders, his office said.
Zelensky met Ukraine’s top army commander, Valery Zaluzhny, as well as the head of the general staff and marine forces, where the group discussed “the current operations of Ukrainian defenders in the south,” Kyiv said.
Russia’s withdrawal from the western bank of the Dnipro River last November was the last major territorial change in the 20-month conflict, which has grinded to a near-stalemate in recent months.