The Kremlin declined to comment Monday on reports the Ukrainian army had crossed to the occupied left bank of the Dnipro River and reinforced positions, which would be a significant breakthrough for Kyiv.
Media and social media reported over the weekend that Kyiv’s forces had crossed the river — which has long formed the front line in the southern Kherson region — and were holding positions in the village of Krynky.
“We do not comment on the course of the special military operation itself, that is the prerogative of our specialists, our military,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“In this case we also believe that our military specialists can and should comment.”
Kyiv has since the autumn increased efforts to cross the Dnipro, a key aim in its counter-offensive launched this summer.
Its army, which has guarded its operations in secrecy, had not commented on the reports.
The tiny village of Krynky lies some 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the Ukrainian-controlled city of Kherson, on the opposite bank of the river.
Earlier Monday, two Russian state news agencies — TASS and Sputnik — announced an apparent retreat by Moscow’s forces in the Dnieper region, but then withdrew the news stories as a “mistake.”
But influential Russian social media accounts seemed to confirm the Ukrainian army was on the other side of the river.
The WarGonzo Telegram account, close to Moscow’s forces, said “the Russian army was trying to kick out the Ukrainian army from their real foothold in Krynky.”
“Artillery is working on Ukrainian positions,” it said, adding: “But the Ukrainian army have encroached and do not plan to leave.”
Rybar, another Telegram account with army links, said there was ongoing “fighting” in Krynky.
It said that Ukraine’s forces had “expanded its zone of control” in the village but were “ambushed” by Russian troops while trying to advance further.