Ukrainian forces have successfully pushed Russian troops out of their positions along the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in the occupied Kherson region, according to a statement released by Kyiv’s military on Friday.
The successful operation, which involved Ukrainian marines, included establishing multiple bridgeheads and executing strategic manoeuvres on the eastern side of the River Dnipro.
It marks a crucial breakthrough, as crossing the river and transporting heavy military equipment could potentially open up a new frontline in the south, providing Ukrainian forces with a direct land route towards Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
For the first time this week, Russia acknowledged that Ukrainian troops had crossed the River Dnipro.
General staff spokesperson Andriy Kovalyov said: “Units of the Ukrainian armed forces managed to knock out the Russians from their positions on the left bank of the Dnipro and consolidate there.”
The primary objective of this military success is to push the Russian forces as far as possible from the right bank of the river, aiming to protect the Ukrainian civilian population, particularly in Kherson, from incessant shelling by Russian artillery.
The city of Kherson, once a bustling metropolis with a population of 300,000, has been heavily impacted by months of Russian bombardment, resulting in numerous civilian casualties.
Kherson, which fell under Ukrainian control on the western bank of the Dnipro in November 2022, became a pivotal point on the southern front, with the river serving as a natural barrier between the opposing forces.
While the Ukrainian military celebrated this victory, Russia has yet to issue an official statement in response to the reports. Both sides claim to have inflicted heavy losses on the other during operations in the area, though independent verification of these claims by Reuters is currently unavailable.
President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the Ukrainian forces, posting images on Friday that showcased the military using drones and operating speedboats on the Dnipro.
“Our warriors. Thank you for your strength, for moving forward!” he wrote on Telegram. The successful pushback against Russian forces represents a major boost for Ukraine in the ongoing conflict.