First Ukraine crossed the Dnipro River and established a foothold on the left bank just across from Kherson. Then they did it again further north. Then they did it again further north. Then they did it again further north. That last one, near Krynky, has expanded into the largest bridgehead on the east side of the river, with Ukraine now apparently in control of Krynky and pushing north, south, and east.
According to Russian sources, Ukraine continues to bring armor and artillery across the river at Krynky. They’ve established air defenses and positioned electronic warfare units, limiting the effectiveness of Russian drones and missiles. And Russian forces in the area are already making complaints about supplies, ammunition, and communications, even though Ukraine hasn’t yet disrupted major supply routes.
And after several weeks of moving the beachhead northward, Ukraine’s latest major move is south of the city of Kherson, in an area where the kilometer-wide Dnipro splits into a series of smaller channels. They’ve pushed Russia out of areas on the islands, moved forces by barge across those islands to the left bank, and extended the area of their control down to Hola Prystan on the south.
If Ukraine decides to come across the river in serious force, its options are expanding. Here’s how the always conservative open source intelligence analysts at Deep State show it as of Monday.
More than 60 kilometers of riverfront are now fully under Ukrainian control. They may not have built a pontoon bridge at this point, but they’re going to end up with plenty of options.
Run parallel to one of the existing bridges north of Oleshky? They could do that. Or they could cross the Dnipro at its narrow point in the bend between Krynky and Korsunka. Or they might even choose to bridge the gap to the island village of Bilohrudove and drive forces to a position where the crossing to Hola Prystan is less than 200 meters.
Here’s the south Bilohrudove area in close-up using a map from open-source intelligence analyst Andrew Perpetua.
Ukraine has moved through the town of Bilohrudove and consolidated control over the east end of the island. Other Ukrainian sources claim that Ukraine has advanced closer to the south bank of the island where Bilohrudove is located and taken control of all areas on the large Potemkin Island to the northwest (that’s literally the name of the island, not a metaphor). Ukraine also has forces on the left bank just north of Hola Prystan, but claims that Ukrainian forces have moved into the town itself are not confirmed, and the town itself is protected by the Konka River, which looks to be around 166 meters wide (~545 feet).
If Ukrainian forces move into Hola Prystan, not only would they liberate a town with a pre-war population of over 13,000, they would also threaten Russia’s control over the P57 highway. This would make it more difficult for Russia to supply locations like Oleshky while providing an all-season route for Ukrainian forces.
At the other end of this growing front, fighting continues near Krynky. With Russia shelling the center of town, there are some reports that Ukraine now controls all of Krynky, but there is no confirmation.
Several big targets remain in this area. If Ukraine moves east, it threatens the important T2206 highway. If it can move north to Korsunka, it will have control over the area where the Dnipro is narrowest, and where past exercises have seen Ukrainian forces practice river crossings.
Push south, and it can make Russian forces centered near Oleshky even more concerned—especially when those forces are already dealing with Ukrainian troops building up to their west and south.
Ukraine has greatly expanded the width of its bridgehead across the Dnipro, giving it a lot of options for what happens next, assuming it’s not too tied up in the Zaporizhzhia front or fending off Russian advances around Avdiivka.
But it sure seems like Ukraine is serious in Dnipro. Meaning the next step isn’t a bridgehead: It’s a bridge.
At Avdiivka, Russian forces have gained at least partial control over the eastern edge of Stepove and have advanced very near the industrial area on the northwest of Avdiivka in two areas.
Russian tactics here continue to be the same: throw a lot of bodies at the situation, accept the losses, and eke out minimal gains. The reported number of Russian troops lost on Monday dropped to “only” 800 after two days where over 1,100 were reported. This seems to represent a reduction in attacks rather than a fall-off in Ukrainian defenses.
Ukrainian general staff reported only eight attempted attacks at Avdiivka on Monday. That compares with 15 attacks the previous day.
However, it’s far too early to read anything into that. Russia has twice slowed its attacks around Avdiivka in the past three weeks so that it could mass additional forces for a large push. Considering the proximity of Russian forces at Stepove and the industrial area, such a surge in the next few days would not be surprising.
Russia took out its frustrations at Ukrainian advances along the Dnipro the traditional Russian way—lobbing shells and missiles into civilian areas.
There are confusing messages about Russia “regrouping forces” on the left bank of the Dnipro River. That’s the same language Russia used when retreating from Kherson across the river a year ago.
This message supposedly came from the Russian Ministry of Defense. Except it didn’t. However, it did appear on two state media outlets: TASS and RIA.
The first message was followed by a second saying that the movement had been canceled. This has led to dozens of theories about whether or not the announcement was real and what it means if it was.
Honestly, my first impression is that this is an accidental repeat of messages from a year ago, announcing the withdrawal of forces from the right bank. Because if Russia moved its troops away from the Dnipro … where would they go that would keep Ukraine from either moving south toward Crimea, or east to hit the Zaporizhzhia front in the flank? There’s a direct road from Nova Kakhovka to Melitopol. It seems very unlikely Russia would move away from that road.
Russian forces don’t have a lot of choice but to fight it out along the Dnipro … unless they’re repositioning into Russia.