July 13, 2024

Ukraine is continuing to grow its bridgehead across the Dnipro River in occupied Kherson Oblast, according to geolocated images published on social media.

The images, published on Nov. 12, “shows that Ukrainian forces made marginal advances further into Krynky,” the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in an assessment. The village is 30 km (about 19 miles) west of Kherson City and 2 km south (about 1.2 miles) of the Dnipro.

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Head of the President’s Office of Ukraine Andriy Yermak on Monday acknowledged the success across the Dnipro

“Despite everything, the Armed Forces of Ukraine captured a bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro River,” he said Monday during a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C.

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The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented directly on the situation, but a few prominent Russian milbloggers are sounding alarms about a Ukrainian advance in this area nearly a year to the day after Ukrainian forces recaptured Kherson City.

“It’s boiling,” The Diary of a Paratrooper Russian milblogger said Tuesday on Telegram about the Dnipro situation.

“For a year and a half, we, the paratroopers, stood in the Kherson direction, where we went forward destroying the Ukrainian fascists from historically Russian soil at the cost of the lives of our brothers, your children, husbands, fathers and sons,” The Diary of a Paratrooper wrote. “We are not only offended, we are bitter about what is happening now in this direction.”

Ukrainian forces “not only managed to move to the left bank, but also took up positions along the bank and occupied part of the villages!!! It holds positions and also transports armored vehicles across the Dnipro, on which there are islands and one channel. We were there and we know that it is possible to hold all this and not let the enemy in!”

The WarGonzo Telegram channel also complained about the Ukrainian advance across the Dnipro.

“This sector of the front has become one of the priorities for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in terms of offensive actions,” WarGonzo wrote on Telegram. “Ukrainian troops managed to gain a foothold on the left bank of the Dnipro in Krynky and the Russian Armed Forces cannot dislodge them from there.”

The Russians are having trouble dislodging Ukrainian forces from Krynky, according to Russian milbloggers. (Google Earth image)The Russians are having trouble dislodging Ukrainian forces from Krynky, according to Russian milbloggers. (Google Earth image)

The Russians are having trouble dislodging Ukrainian forces from Krynky, according to Russian milbloggers. (Google Earth image)

Ukraine is carrying out “serious attacks… from the islands near Poima, Peschany and Podstepnoye,” WarGonzo added. “Ukrainian troops are breaking through to the M-14 highway. The loss of control over the Poima area, where it intersects with the M-17 highway, will become an extremely serious problem for the Russian Armed Forces, since this is the logistics of the garrison in Kakhovka.”

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The many islands in the Dnipro delta “are dominated by Ukrainian troops,” according to WarGonzo. “More or less stable bridgeheads have been created on the left bank of the main river bed from Kherson to Tyaginka. And this is a front width of 35 kilometers (about 22 miles).”

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“The Ukrainian Armed Forces’ cannon and rocket artillery are actively operating,” WarGonzo added. “Their fire is adjusted by unlimited drones. Attack helicopters are also in action.”

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The Russian Voenkor Kitten Telegram painted an equally dire picture.

“In the Dnipro direction, the enemy began transferring equipment to the left bank with varying degrees of success,” Voenkor Kitten wrote. “If 10-14 days ago on this side of the Dnipro the enemy had 50 to 70 people on the bridgehead, now they have 300 people in the area of Kyrnky. Constant attempts at assault and expansion of the bridgehead.”

The goal is not a full-fledged offensive, but “to punch holes and set up [sabotage groups] to work on the infrastructure of the land corridor to Crimea (storming checkpoints, raids, ambushes, etc.),” Voenkor Kitten wrote. “Their task is to work blocking the conditional Melitopol, Energodar, Novaya Kakhovka. Sabotage groups sit on the road.”

Ukraine “has only increased the number of people transferred” the milblogger wrote. “And if he lands, tasty targets for him are Golaya Pristan, the Iron Port, and the Kinburn Spit. The enemy has room to develop. The enemy is trying to dictate conditions in an area where we have a huge geographical advantage – we are protected by a river.”

Russian forces, meanwhile, are carrying out artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions in Krynky.

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Though the Russian MoD is not commenting directly about this situation, several Russian media outlets retracted stories Monday claiming that it was moving its troops out of the area.

“The news ‘The command of the Dnepr group decided to regroup troops to more advantageous positions east of the Dnipro’ is CANCELED as it was released erroneously,” the official TASS news agency posted on Telegram Monday. “We apologize to our subscribers and readers.”

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Monday’s incident was symptomatic of information warfare, said Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command.

“The enemy measures our resilience, and readiness to counteract and react,” she said in televised comments, Reuters reported. “There are a number of military operations (in the Kherson region) that we do not discuss, precisely so that the enemy has increased nervousness and moral disorder. This state of the enemy army satisfies us.”

ISW suggested three possible reasons for the retraction.

“They may be indicative of actual discussions taking place in the high echelons of Russian military command that may have prematurely entered the information space before being officially released by the Russian military,” ISW said.

“The Russian military command alternatively may have instructed state media to release and then retract these reports as part of an information operation that aims to have Ukrainian forces underestimate available Russian manpower on the east bank of Kherson Oblast.”

Or, “an outside source posing as the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) provided information about the reported ‘regrouping’ of Russian forces on the left bank of Kherson Oblast to Russian state media outlets.”

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Regardless, with Ukraine’s counteroffensive elsewhere largely bogged down to a bloody stalemate, any advance in Kherson will help relieve the pressure on Kyiv’s forces in Zaporizhzhia by drawing Russian reinforcements. In addition, any serious advance out of Krynky – located a little more than 40 miles north of Crimea – could benefit Ukraine’s ongoing efforts on the peninsula as well.

“Step by step [Ukrainian forces] are demilitarizing Crimea,” Yermak said Monday. “We have covered 70% of the distance. And our counteroffensive continues.”

Whether Kyiv can pour enough troops and equipment across the Dnipro and through the swampy area surrounding Krynky remains to be seen.

Before getting into the rest of the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can get caught up with our previous rolling coverage here.

The Latest

Elsewhere on the battlefield, little territory has changed hands. Russia and Ukraine continue to battle it out in the Robotyne-Verbove salient in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Russia is pressing offensive operations across a wide swath of the front lines from Donetsk Oblast to Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

In particular, the Russian have not stopped trying to assault the Donetsk Oblast town of Avdiivka.

“The jewelry work of our fighters of 47 Separate Mechanized Brigade, who side by side, together with their comrades in arms of friendly units, destroy the Russians in the Avdiivka direction,” the brigade said on Telegram Monday.

“In this video, we show the ‘love'”‘ of the invaders for the Ukrainian land and the promised fragment, how a tank with the tricolor of the occupiers is on fire.”

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Ukraine’s 53rd Mechanized Brigade is also inflicting losses on Russian armor in this sector of the front.

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Here are some key takeaways about the status of operations in other areas from the latest ISW assessment:

  • Ukrainian and Russian sources noted that weather conditions are impacting the battlespace but not halting operations.

  • Ukrainian officials indicated that Ukraine will likely conduct an interdiction campaign against Russian supply routes in the upcoming winter.

  • A Russian milblogger called on actors in the Russian information space to more widely amplify Russian strikes on Ukrainian military assets as opposed to Ukrainian strikes on Russian rear areas, indirectly highlighting a unique dynamic wherein the majority of reported Russian strikes seem to affect Ukrainian civilian objects, whereas the majority of reported Ukrainian strikes affect Russian military assets.

  • Former Wagner Group personnel are reportedly rejecting Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) recruitment attempts aimed at subsuming Wagner operations in Africa.

  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas of the frontline.

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After a seeming lull in such attacks that have slowed to a trickle in recent months, explosives-laden drones struck key defense facilities inside Russia overnight, according to Russian media outlets.

One attack was on a facility producing Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) and Kh-47 Kinzhal air-launched ‘hypersonic’ ballistic missiles run by KB Mashinostroyeniya (KBM) near Moscow, the independent Russian Astra media outlet reported Tuesday on Telegram. The other was on an explosives factory in Bryansk belonging to a major state defense company, Astra said.

Multiple blasts were heard at the KBM missile plant in Kolomna, about 100 kilometers (about 63 miles) from Moscow, early Tuesday morning around 7:30 am.

Special service vehicles rushed to the missile factory after reports of the attack spread, the witness added. The drone strike came two days after the same defense site was reportedly first hit on Nov. 11 in a previous raid, according to Astra.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1724389279072186877?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1724389279072186877%7Ctwgr%5E830845b8a105bfe5942b3de9c9c30c6f7ce0f67a%7Ctwcon%5Es1_\u0026ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Feuromaidanpress.com%2F2023%2F11%2F14%2Frussian-explosive-plant-kinzhal-producer-hit-in-overnight-drone-attack%2F https://twitter.com/pstyle0ne1/status/1724309699661599016?s=46

The Russian Baza media outlet reported on Telegram Tuesday that “an unexploded aircraft-type drone with an explosive was discovered in a workshop under construction at the Bryansk Chemical Plant, located in the village of Seltso. At the same time, the roof of the workshop was broken in three places. Special services officers were called to the scene.”

There were no casualties as a result of the drone crash, Baza reported.

The War Zone cannot independently verify these claims. Neither the Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) nor local officials commented on them.

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Ukraine has paid a very heavy price in lives for this war.

American officials estimate that at least 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far, and that up to 120,000 more have been wounded, The Economist reported.

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Ukraine received more bad news about its weapons supplies. The European Union will miss its target of supplying Ukraine with one million artillery shells and missiles by next March, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Arriving at a meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels, Pistorius also questioned the wisdom of having set the target in March this year, with a 12-month deadline.

Pistorius’s comments were the first public admission by a senior European minister that the target would not be met, although diplomats and officials have been expressing skepticism privately for months about the goal.

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There was, however, some good news from Germany in the form of a new tranche of military aid headlined by 10 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks and 14 Bandwagn 206 tracked all-terrain vehicles.

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There was also good news from the U.S., which bought 60 German-made Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun systems from Jordan for Ukraine, De Telegraaf reported.

The publication advanced our previous reporting about the Gepards by noting the specific number – 60 – that are headed to Jordan.

In June, we reported the Pentagon announced a U.S. Army deal for Gepards with Global Military Products, Inc. of Tampa, Florida, valued at $118,375,740, in its daily contracting notice. Germany had already supplied dozens of these vehicles to Ukraine’s armed forces, which has been using them to good effect, especially against incoming Russian cruise missiles and drones.

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Russia is working to increase the production and improve the capabilities of its Krasnopol 152mm laser-guided artillery munitions, the U.K. Defense Ministry (MoD) said in its latest assessment.

Russia uses drones to designate targets with lasers, but low cloud cover has been interfering because the munition’s “laser detector does not have time to spot the laser’s energy and maneuver for striking.”

Russia is likely working to reduce the round’s laser detection time, the MoD said.

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Ukrainian delegation headed by the economy minister arrived in the U .S. Sunday for talks on cooperation and support for Kyiv, Yermak said.

“The delegation led by Yulia Svyrydenko will discuss” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “formula for peace, strengthening Ukraine’s defense, comprehensively deepening our cooperation and many other important topics,” Yermak said in a post on social media.

He added: “I will have meetings in the White House, Congress, think tanks and with representatives of civil society organizations.”

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Ongoing Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet are paying off.

“The enemy was forced to relocate its cruise missile carriers to Novorossiysk, but the logistics that service these carriers remained in Sevastopol. That’s why you are seeing such a big pause in the use of missiles, because now the enemy is faced with the problem of lack of logistics,” said speaker of the Naval Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Dmitry Pletenchuk.

Novorossiysk, however, has also come under attack by Ukraine.

You can read more the Russian Navy moving its cruise missile ships and more about Russia’s missile warfare against Ukraine in our deep dive here.

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Ukraine’s allies are continuing to train its troops, and reaching new milestones doing so, The Associated Press reported.

“France is on course to have trained 7,000 Ukrainians this year — some in Poland, others at French bases — as part of a European Union military assistance mission for Ukraine that launched a year ago this week,” according to the AP.

The French army granted The Associated Press access to a training base in rural France last week to observe the latest class of Ukrainian infantrymen being put through its paces at the tail end of a four-week course.

“The EU mission’s initial goal was to train 15,000 soldiers, but it has far exceeded that target and now expects to hit 35,000 by the end of this year,” the AP wrote. “All but three of the EU’s 27 member countries, plus non-member Norway, have provided training courses or instructors, the EU Commission says.”

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Russian milblogger Svyatoslav Golikov, who runs the Philologist in the Gray Zone Telegram channel, said cluster munitions provided to Ukraine have been a “game changer” even if the front lines haven’t moved much.

The U.S. has provided Ukraine with 155mm artillery cluster munitions known as Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICMs) as well as Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) short-range ballistic missile cluster munition variants. Cluster munitions have already had a devastating effect on Russian forces, destroying personnel and equipment.

Satellite imagery from Planet Labs taken in October shows at least nine distinct scorch marks, most with wreckage also visible, along the main runway and adjacent taxiways at the eastern end of Berdyansk airport. The locations of the scorch marks/wreckage are also consistent with where Russian helicopters are seen parked in earlier imagery in Planet Labs' database. PHOTO © 2023 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSIONSatellite imagery from Planet Labs taken in October shows at least nine distinct scorch marks, most with wreckage also visible, along the main runway and adjacent taxiways at the eastern end of Berdyansk airport. The locations of the scorch marks/wreckage are also consistent with where Russian helicopters are seen parked in earlier imagery in Planet Labs' database. PHOTO © 2023 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION

“It is cluster shells that are now knocking out a huge mass of our infantry with the layering of a number of negative factors,” he wrote.

“The infantry suffers heavy excess losses directly on the battlefield, as a result of which the execution of combat missions is disrupted, and in addition to this there is an overstrain of evacuation logistics and an overload of the military medical infrastructure.”

A combination of depleted infantry units and overloaded hospitals “leads to the fact that people are massively returned to duty, in principle undertreated and often with small damaging elements in the soft tissues not removed.”

In addition, “cluster shells have a very favorable ratio of the quantity used to the quality of fire damage inflicted on infantry.”

Though “there are no radical shifts in the front line, much less breakthroughs from the enemy” cluster munitions have made a difference, said Golikov.

“Exhausting and bleeding the enemy on the defensive, and then collapsing the front with powerful counterattacks would be an excellent plan if implemented. But in fact, along the way, we ourselves were pretty exhausted and bled dry. Here is a ‘game change’ in which cluster shells have already played and continue to play their role.”

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Denis Panikarov, convicted of providing information that helped guide Russian missiles to strike the Kharkiv administration building, was sentenced to life in prison.

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In this video below, you can see a Ukrainian Su-25 Frogfoot attack jet zipping about 10 meters over a Ukrainian Mi-8 Hip combat transport helicopter. It appears that a mid-air collision may have been narrowly avoided

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More images of Ukrainian Bradley Fighting Vehicles emerged on social media. The photo below, which does not provide a date or location, shows two of them making their way through the mud.

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The Heckler & Koch MG5 7.62mm belt-fed machine gun was recently seen in action being used by Ukrainian special operators, which you can see in this video below.

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A Russian soldier got a little closer than he bargained for to a Ukrainian cruise missile. In this video below, either a French-donated SCALP-EG or a U.K. donated Storm Shadow landed about 50 meters (about 164 feet) from the soldier recording the incoming munition.

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Another Russian soldier recorded the aftermath of a Ukrainian attack on his position. The undated video, which you can see below, shows what appears to be a number of troops killed in the attack.

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The Russian soldier on a motorcycle in the video below was chased by a First Person Video drone that eventually caught him. It is unclear whether he knew the drone was after him.

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Video emerged of the damage caused by a Nov. 8 Russian missile attack on a civilian ship that killed the Ukrainian marine pilot and injured three crew members.

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Ukrainian Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR), recently had a VIP visitor – former U.S. Special Operations Command head William McRaven.

The meeting left an impression on Budanov.

“This is one of the most famous professionals in the world in my opinion,” he told The War Zone. “A couple of years ago, I read his book. And now I have met him myself.”

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And finally, a car with a two-month-old baby previously injured in another Russian attack was hit by artillery near Kherson City, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram.

“As a result of the impact, the car caught fire,” according to Klymenko. “The 36-year-old mother is in a serious condition in the hospital. The man who was driving was killed. He is probably the child’s 64-year-old grandfather. An examination will establish the identity since the body was almost completely burned.”

The baby, previously diagnosed with a head injury from a mine explosion, was in moderate condition. Doctors provide the necessary assistance and fight for her mother’s life.

“Our enemy is cruel,” said Klymenko. “And he understands only the language of power. There will be a payoff.”

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That’s it for now. We’ll update this story when there is more news to report about Ukraine.

Contact the author: howard@thewarzone.com

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