The Ukrainian army stated on Sunday that it had driven Russian soldiers back “three to eight kilometres” from the Dnipro river’s banks, which, if verified, would represent the first substantial progress by Kyiv’s forces months into a failed counteroffensive, news agency AFP reported. “Preliminary figures vary from three to eight kilometres, depending on the specifics, geography, and landscape design of the left bank,” army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk informed Ukrainian television, without establishing whether the Ukrainian army had complete control of the area or if the Russians had pulled away.
“The enemy continues artillery fire on the right bank,” she claimed, estimating “tens of thousands” of Russian troops in the region.
“We have a lot of work to do,” she was quoted by AFP in its report.
After Russia withdrew its soldiers from the western bank of the large river in the southern Kherson area last November, Ukrainian and Russian forces have remained entrenched on opposite sides of the vast waterway for more than a year.
Ukrainian soldiers have made many efforts to cross and hold positions on the Russian-controlled side, with Kyiv officials ultimately announcing a “successful” breakthrough last week.
It comes after Kyiv’s long-awaited counteroffensive, begun in June, mostly failed, with Ukraine retaking just a few settlements in the south and east.
Kyiv’s most recent big victory was the retaking of the village of Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia’s southern district in August.
Ukrainian soldiers were unable to breach Russia’s defence lines any farther.
A bridgehead on the Dnipro’s left bank would allow for a deeper attack in the south, however it would need the deployment of additional infantry and armour in the difficult-to-reach swampy terrain.
The AFP was unable to independently authenticate the officials’ assertions.