The Ukrainian military said on Sunday it had pushed Russian troops back “three to eight kilometers” from the banks of the Dnipro River, which, if verified, would be the first to be captured by Kiev’s forces months ago, news agency AFP reported. A failed counter-offensive would mark the first significant progress. “Preliminary figures vary from three to eight kilometers depending on the specifics of the left bank, geography and landscape design,” army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk told Ukrainian television. Was pulled away.
“The enemy continues to fire artillery on the right flank,” he claimed, estimating “tens of thousands” of Russian troops in the area.
“We have a lot of work to do,” AFP quoted him as saying in its report.
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Ukrainian and Russian forces have been locked in a standoff on opposite sides of the vast waterway for more than a year, after Russia withdrew its troops from the western bank of the river in the southern Kherson region last November.
Ukrainian troops have made several attempts to cross to the Russian-controlled side and capture positions, with Kiev officials finally declaring a “successful” breakthrough last week.
It comes after Kiev’s long-awaited counteroffensive launched in June mostly failed, with Ukraine retaking only a few settlements in the south and east.
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Kiev’s most recent major victory was the recapture of the village of Robotyn in the southern district of Zaporizhia in August.
Ukrainian troops were unable to break through the Russian defense line any further.
A bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro would allow an attack deep to the south, although it would require the deployment of additional infantry and armor in inaccessible marshy terrain.
AFP was unable to independently verify the officials’ claims.