Elements of two Ukrainian Marine Brigades have crossed the Dnipro River and captured two villages three to four kilometers inland, but the strength of the bridgehead and Kyiv’s future plans for operations on the left bank of Ukraine’s biggest water obstacle are still unclear.

Russian Telegram channels led by the Kremlin-associated RybarZ on Wednesday said that four amphibious combat teams from Ukraine’s 35th and 36th Marine Brigades launched a crossing of Ukraine’s biggest waterway from jump-off positions near the right bank town of Pridnistrovske in the early morning hours.

The Ukrainian Marines, according to those accounts, advanced inland to the villages of Poima and Pishchanivka against little or no resistance and began digging in.

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The Russian blogger Vladimir Rogov said the situation around the Ukrainian bridgehead currently was static with both sides trading artillery and mortar fire and hunting each other’s infantry with attack drones.

Russian military blogger Vladimir Kulikovsky in Wednesday comments said the Marines’ river crossing was preceded by three days of “intense artillery fire” targeting Russian positions on the river’s left bank. Russian drones had destroyed the boats the Marines used to cross the Dnipro and Russian ground troops were counterattacking to prevent the Ukrainians from getting fully entrenched, he claimed.

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Rogov in a Wednesday blog said Ukrainian reconnaissance squads also had landed by boat and were active in the village of Krynok and on Kazatsky Island, but that Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) troops at those locations appeared to be raiders rather than line infantry intending to hold positions. There was no outside confirmation.

Located some 10 km upriver from the major Ukrainian city of Kherson, Prydnprovske is the site of one of the few railroad crossings of the Dnipro.

The strategically critical rail bridge there was blown up by retreating Russian troops in November 2022, but its foundations possibly suitable for use by Ukrainian troops attempting to re-bridge the river, remain in place.

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Multiple speculative maps appeared on social media on Wednesday attesting to a major Ukrainian river crossing at the site of the broken rail bridge, however, without many details.

Kyiv Post found no reports in the public domain of Ukrainian army attempts to deploy ferries, assault bridges or other means capable of supporting the transfer of heavy military equipment like tanks, artillery or infantry fighting vehicles to the Dnipro’s left bank.

Terrain in the area of the Marines’ river crossing is largely swampy and wooded, and thick with canals, mosquitoes and lakes. Before the war the region was popular with sports fishermen but outside the summer season thinly populated.

Ukrainian special operations troops operating in small boats in May kicked off a campaign of raids and cross-river attacks both north and south of Kherson, in most cases according to Ukrainian military statements leaving before Russian reserves were able to respond. Ukrainian territorial defense infantrymen conducted foot patrols in the region in July and August.

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The Russian military, mostly unable to bring up artillery to attack the Ukrainian raiders because of long-range Ukrainian artillery on the other side, in recent weeks, has intensified air strikes on cross-river Ukrainian patrols and suspected patrol locations.

Local social media on Wednesday said Ukrainian troops were in the two villages in strength, and some posters said the Marine presence was more substantial than Ukrainian raider and small boat raids in the past. Kyiv Post was unable to confirm the accounts independently.

A near-total Ukrainian army lockdown about operations potentially crossing the Dnipro River appeared to be in effect. The Army General Staff daily situation estimate, usually the single most authoritative source of official updates on Ukrainian military operations, did not even mention the Kherson sector.

The latest report touching on Marine activities on the Kyiv-sanctioned AFU StratCom Telegram channel said nothing about combat, instead reporting on amphibious infantrymen practicing marksmanship with recoilless rifles and automatic grenade launchers and an unnamed training area.

Images and information published by the 36th Marine Brigade in its own information feeds showed the unit to be in combat in the eastern sector around the villages of Opytne and Vodiyane into the latter half of September, and conducting training through mid-October.

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The training focus per those sources was work-up and induction of new recruits, marksmanship and operation of light air defense weapons.

One of 36th brigade’s two battalions, the 501st, on Oct. 14 published images of drone operations geo-located to the Dnipro River left bank.

Other video published by the Marina-associated attack drone section Grifon showed images of Ukraine-operated hobby drones fitted with explosives striking Russian troops in positions geo-located to Poima village.

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