Ukrainian Marines were improving positions and trading fire with Russian patrols in the latest villages captured by Kyiv’s forces on the left bank of the Dnipro River, official and independent reports said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Russian forces have responded for nearly a week with ground counterattacks against the bridgehead.
Both official Ukrainian military sources and local social media said the Marine advance was by infantry carrying heavy weapons and supplies, and that they started digging in immediately.
Undated video posted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) showed heavily armed infantrymen moving through low-lying swamp and marsh, at times under small arms and mortar fire, reportedly in the Krynky sector. Local social media confirmed Ukrainian Marine presence.
A Kherson military information Telegram channel posted images of Ukrainian Marines flying observation drones and firing 120mm mortars in support of troops holding the bridgehead, according to the report.
Other news outlets posted before-and-after clips of a group of burnt-out vehicles, claiming that Russian mobilized soldiers, a battalion of Chuvash, were targeted by Ukrainian HIMARS strikes in the Kherson region, resulting more than 100 casualties.
Elements of Ukraine’s 35th, 36th, 37th and 38th Marine Brigades, according to multiple reports, crossed the Dnipro River using small boats on Oct. 22 in the southern sector, entering and capturing the effectively undefended riverside villages Pishchanivka, Pidstepne and Poima, near the town Oleshky.
A follow-up Marine crossing some 25 kilometers upriver established a second, toehold bridgehead in the village of Krynky.
An Oct. 31 report from the Russian military information channel said Kremlin forces were having trouble deploying heavy weapons to attack the Ukrainian Marines around Krynky because of the very soft ground along the Dnipro River flood plain and near-total absence of hard roads in the vicinity.
Some sections of lower Dnipro riverbank are paralleled by a tributary, the smaller but impossible-to-wade Konka River.
Terrain around all four of the Ukrainian bridgehead village positions is thickly wooded, swampy and on the left bank of the Konka River. Ukrainian advances south of the Konka would exit marshy lowlands and enter better-drained farm fields.
The Ukrainian Marines in both the Oleshky and Krynky bridgeheads appear to be digging in and preparing to defend their positions, but also throwing out patrols in a possible attempt to link the two bridgeheads, Russian military information sources said. The pro-Russia Ierikhon news platform said in a tweet:
“Tension around Krynky remains high. The enemy (AFU Marines) is retaining its positions around this village. It is putting in (artillery-dropped) remote mines around the village, and with this tactic making approach by Russian Federation forces more complicated.
Our de-mining engineers are regularly hit by effective fire, and (Ukrainian) drones are dropping munitions. The enemy is trying to expand its control of territory around Krynky in the direction of Kozachi Laheri. Besides this, the enemy is improving its positions around Pidstepne.”
Russia’s response, a week into the Ukrainian cross-river incursion, has been for the most part limited to intermittent artillery shelling and an uptick in air strikes. Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergency Situations in a Nov. 1 statement said Russian air forces had bombed or rocketed the Krynky vicinity 8 times in the past 24 hours.
The Russian Defense Ministry RybarZ information platform in a Nov. 1 statement said: “In the Kherson sector Ukrainian assault formations are continuing to hold the central portion of Krynky. Thanks to the transfer of additional reinforcing troops, the enemy has succeeded in slightly expanding its zone of control to the west.”
Earlier this week it was reported that President Putin had dismissed the commander in charge of the Russian “Dnepr” Grouping of Forces in the face of repeated Ukrainian incursions.
Colonel General Oleg Makarevich was, according to Russian milbloggers, “ignoring the situation on the ground and sweeping what is happening under the carpet.”
Video created by Ukrainian Marines, purportedly in Krynky, said food was short and their unit had taken casualties, but their plan was to keep gaining ground.
ВСУ успешно форсировали реку Днепр в нескольких точках. Среди них поселок Крынки.— распад и неуважение (@VictorKvert2008) October 29, 2023
Other videos geolinked to the area showed soldiers described as Russian prisoners of war captured by the Ukrainians. Kyiv Post was unable to confirm the claims independently.
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