This article was originally published in English
A French analyst said kyiv’s recent advances on the battlefield against Russia were “quite symbolic.”
Ukraine announced an advance of its troops on the left bank of the Dnieper River occupied by Russia, a success after months of counteroffensive that will be difficult to convert into real progress, according to military experts consulted by AFP.
On Sunday, kyiv announced that its troops had reached the left bank of the Dnieper River, occupied by the Russian army.
He claimed to have pushed back Moscow’s forces “by 3 to 8 km” on this front line, in the southern region of Kherson, without specifying whether Ukrainian troops fully controlled the area.
If the advance is confirmed, it would be the greatest achievement of the Ukrainian army since the capture of the village of Robotyné in the Zaporizhia region in August as part of its counteroffensive launched in June.
The leader of Russian-occupied Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, admitted that “about one and a half companies” of Ukrainian soldiers – possibly hundreds of men – had established positions near the village of Krinki, across the Dnieper, although he downplayed this. .
According to pro-Kremlin military expert Alexander Khramchikhin, the reconquered territory is “microscopic” and does not allow Ukrainian forces to deploy military equipment.
“Without equipment, there is no offensive, only losses,” he summarizes.
However, Moscow replaced the commander of the Russian military group “Dnieper” operating in the area at the end of October due to the difficult situation on the ground, according to analysts.
French military expert Michel Goya told AFP that the Ukrainian operation is “quite limited, quite symbolic,” but allows “small victories to be claimed after the failure of the main offensive.”
kyiv needs heavy equipment and bridges
To turn its success into a breakthrough, the Ukrainian army must manage to deploy its army to the other side of the river. This would involve crossing a large natural barrier and then maneuvering through a swampy area during the rainy season.
To do this, they are constantly expanding this bridgehead, they are not simply staying in Krinki, they are moving around,” said Michael Nacke, underlining that Russia “does not have the most professional units in this region.”
The Kiev operation “maintains pressure on the Russians, who are forced to move part of their reserves towards the Dnieper, to the detriment of other sectors of the front,” said Michel Goya.
By taking deeper positions, Kiev could also launch a more significant assault on the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. But to do so, experts estimate, it would need thousands of men and heavy vehicles.
“Bridges over the Dnieper River are needed, but any improvised bridge would be vulnerable to Russian air and ground firepower, which has not been completely eliminated,” said Mykola Bielieskov, a Ukrainian military analyst.
The bridges allow “the passage of heavy equipment and logistics. But if they want to advance several tens of kilometers, the artillery must advance because if not, they will find themselves isolated from any support,” Goya said.
“The Ukrainians who crossed are infantry soldiers and marine commandos. They have some vehicles but overall they are very light. They are above all protected by their artillery that has been left on the other side of the river,” said this retired French colonel.
Several military sources assure that the Russians consider this area of Krinki “secondary” and concentrate their forces in Avdiivka, an industrial city on the eastern front that Moscow’s troops are trying to surround.
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