Swarms of Russian drones have forced Ukrainian Marines dug in on the south bank of the Dnipro River to shelter underground to escape them. But they are still holding their positions and according to some recent reports may have even expanded the bridgehead into Kremlin-controlled territory.

Between 60 and 100 Ukrainian Marines living in cellars and basements in the ruined village of Krynky face almost continuous assault from Russian attack drones as long as the sun is up. When night falls, they patrol the two to three kilometers of no man’s land that links their bridgehead to the river when small boats bring up supplies and reinforcements as detailed in unofficial reports from the 35th and 36th Marine Brigades on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ukrainian military spokesman Serhiy Beskrestnov spoke about the Russian drone presence in the Krynky sector during the March 16, Mi-Ukraiina national television broadcast.

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“In general, our entire Marine force sits underground 24/7, because if a Marine infantryman appears on the surface, a Russian robot aircraft attacks him.”

Ukrainian supply runs to and from the Marine-held bridgehead are heavily attacked by Russian drones as well.

Aleks, a Ukrainian lieutenant serving with the Marines in the same Kryky sector wrote in a Telegram post on Sunday: “Transport there is a big part of our losses. There is the problem of soldiers being killed and wounded on the left bank (and bringing them back). The wounded get medical assistance, but due to the situation… the guys can wait for evacuation for several days or weeks to get to the rear. Unfortunately, not all of them survive. The evacuation of the dead is very problematic.”

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A Russian state-owned news agency reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces had been shelling areas in the Kherson region settled by ethnic Bulgarians with ammunition donated by Bulgaria.

Russian sources said that Moscow’s troops, likewise, face masses of Ukrainian kamikaze drone and artillery strikes whenever they leave cover to resupply the forces trying to destroy Kyiv’s bridgehead. The low ground and thick woods around the Marines’ positions force combat vehicles to stay on roads – making them potentially easy targets for air attack and ambushes.

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March 18 map image published by the Russian mil-blogger Romanov showing the purported location of a new Ukrainian bridgehead across the Dnipro River, purportedly established just south of the Ukrainian-controlled city Kherson. There has been no official confirmation of the incursion which Kyiv Post geo-located to territory around the south end of the Antonovsky Bridge.

 

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported in an official meeting with President Vladimir Putin in mid-October that the Ukrainian bridgehead established near the city of Kherson had been finally wiped out. Combat videos from both Russian and Ukrainian sources have been contradicting that narrative for weeks.

Recent images made public by Robert Brovdi, a senior commander of Ukrainian drone reconnaissance and strike teams operating in the Krynky sector, confirmed Ukrainian troops were still holding the bridgehead despite intense Russian drone activity.

Russian operators have reportedly begun use of a new, winged FPV drone with an extended range and enhanced payload against the Marine positions. In a typical day of combat, Kremlin troops launch up to 80 FPV drones against Krynky, Brovdi said in a March 18 situation update.

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Geolocated combat video of Russian drones reviewed by Kyiv Post showed the successful Ukrainian intercept and shoot-down of a Russian aircraft in air space above Dnipro River wetlands.

Ukrainian forces can jam and, in some cases, take over control of the Russian attack drones and fly them back to hit enemy positions, Brovdi said.

Ukrainian operators knocked out ten Russian winged drones in a single day of combat and have put more than 2,900 Russian drones out of action since October. About 77 percent of Russian drones launched towards Ukrainian positions are destroyed or jammed, which has allowed the continued supply of the Krynky bridgehead, he said.

Kyiv Post could not confirm Brovdi’s claims about Russian drone losses independently. Both Russian and Ukrainian sources report small boats continue to deliver ammunition and food to positions around Krynky, but with losses.

Multiple Russian sources on Wednesday indicated that Ukrainian troops had opened another cross-river bridgehead to the west of Krynky, close to the remains of the massive Antonovsky bridge by the Dnipro River city of Kherson.

Ukrainian forces using US-made precision-guided missiles badly damaged the critical supply artery across the bridge in September 2022, and Russian engineers blew up two sections of the bridge following the October retreat to the south bank of the river Dnipro, Ukraine’s largest waterway.

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Small groups of Ukrainian infantry recently crossed the Dnipro River and are digging in on the south bank, using the reinforced concrete roadwork and columns of the bridge as cover, multiple Russian milblogger reports have claimed. Some reports said the Ukrainian force numbered 20-30 men and two to three vehicles.

The popular Russian Telegram poster Romanov Lite in a Tuesday message to his 140,000-plus followers, posted a drone video with locations around the bridge where Ukrainian troops had purportedly taken up defensive positions and showing images of a ruined hotel allegedly being used by the Ukrainians as strong point.

Other Russian milbloggers reported the Ukrainian presence in the area, but Kremlin sources did not. Moscow-appointed governor Vladimir Saldo partially acknowledged the new Ukrainian enclave on March 5 but called it a “raid.”

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Comments (3)

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Mary Alice Boyer
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Ukraines hang tough! We are with you 110%!

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Hope
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Can laser weapons be used on the field for defense against rockets or missiles of drones ?
Is Ukraine supplied by laser defense mechanism against drones ...?

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Hope
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Ukraine can use fake weapons or even plastic statues to distract the opponents...

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