Russia said on Tuesday it fended off Ukraine’s attempts to get to the occupied eastern bank of the southern Kherson region and claimed Kyiv’s army had suffered “colossal losses.”
The Ukrainian army said last week it had pushed Russian forces back three to eight kilometers (two to five miles) from the banks of the Dnipro River, which would have been their first meaningful advance in months.
“All attempts by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to conduct a landing operation in the Kherson area have failed,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a roundtable meeting with officials.
“Thanks to the pre-emptive actions of our military… the Ukrainian forces are suffering colossal losses,” he added.
AFP was not able to independently verify the military situation in Kherson region.
But some pro-Kremlin military bloggers published reports contradicting Shoigu’s statements.
And the Russian-installed governor of the Kherson region Vladimir Saldo admitted last week dozens of Ukrainian troops had established positions around the tiny eastern bank village of Krynky.
If confirmed, the advances would be an important breakthrough for Ukraine, which has staged multiple attempts to cross the Dnipro River.
The waterway has become a de-facto frontline between the two sides since Moscow retreated from the western bank in November 2022.
Crossing it would be a step towards creating a land bridge to the annexed Crimean peninsula.
But many analysts say the territory controlled by Ukrainian troops is small and would be difficult to transform into a real breakthrough.