Russia said Wednesday for the first time that “small groups” of Ukrainian troops had established positions on the Russian-held side of the Dnipro river.
Some Ukrainian soldiers were “blocked” in Krynky, a small village on the eastern bank of the Dnipro river, and were facing a “fiery hell” from Russian artillery, rockets and drones, the Moscow-installed head of Ukraine’s Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said in a post on Telegram.
The vast Dnipro river has split the frontline in southern Ukraine for the last year between the Ukrainian-held western side and Russian forces on the opposite side.
Ukrainian troops have made multiple attempts to cross and establish a foothold on the Russian-controlled bank that they can use to further push Russian troops out of Ukrainian territory.
Saldo said Wednesday that “there are about one and a half enemy companies, mostly in small groups,” stretched along the eastern bank.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, a company in the Russian military system consists of 45-360 soldiers.
“Our additional forces have now been deployed. The enemy is blocked in Krynky. A fiery hell has been arranged for them: bombs, rockets, heavy flamethrower systems, artillery shells, drones,” Saldo said.
His comments are the first admission by a senior Russian official that Ukraine had managed to secure some positions on the Russian-controlled side of the river.
AFP was not able to verify his reports and the scale of Ukraine’s crossing was unclear.
The Kremlin earlier this week refused to comment on reports some Ukrainian troops had crossed the river, saying Russia’s defence ministry should answer questions about the topic.
Russia’s defence ministry has not publicly commented.
Saldo said Ukraine had only been able to cross the river by “throwing meat” — a euphemism for military assaults that involve huge numbers of manpower and encounter heavy losses.
Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces had “gained a foothold on the left bank of the Dnipro,” without providing further details.
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