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AFU create a bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro near Kherson

Jun 27, 2023

On Sunday, June 25, Russian Telegram channels covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had taken a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River near Antonivskyi Bridge. "Dzerkalo Tyzhnia shares what we know about this and how the Ukrainian bridgehead if it does appear, could affect the further course of the fighting.


What is this place and what happened there before

The first reports of a Ukrainian bridgehead in the area of the Antonivsky Bridge destroyed by the Russians during their retreat from Kherson appeared more than two months ago. As early as April 22, the American Institute for the Study of War analyzed reports from pro-Russian "military commanders" and concluded that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had been holding positions on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro for several weeks. To be more precise, it was a large river island separated from the land by the wide (up to a kilometer) main channel of the Dnipro with the destroyed Antonivskyi Bridge from the northwest, and the narrower (about 80 meters) Konka River arm from the southeast.

According to the Russian "military commanders" cited by the Institute on April 22, the Russian army did not control some islands in the Dnipro delta at all. The Russians focused on defending large settlements such as Oleshky and Nova Kakhovka. They had already lost control of the river islands overgrown with reeds and bushes.

It was also alleged that the Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to establish a steady supply of their units, which had entrenched themselves in the area south of Antonivsky Bridge, until April 20.

Then this section of the front disappeared from the news reports. There were no reports of Ukrainian forces advancing south of the bridgehead to the town of Oleshky, nor of the Russians driving the Ukrainian forces from the bridgehead to the northern bank of the Dnipro. It is unclear whether Ukrainian troops remained in the area of the dachas south of Antonivsky Bridge during this time. It is possible that some small advance groups were there until early summer.

However, after the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam on June 6, the Dnipro river level in the Kherson area rose to a level almost 6 meters above normal, and the low-lying Dnipro islands in the delta went under almost completely. It is unlikely that in such conditions there could have been any more or less significant subdivision there.

By mid-June, the water had noticeably subsided and now exceeds the normal level by about 30 cm.

What is happening now near Antonivsky Bridge

According to reports in Russian Telegram channels, the first clashes in the area of Antonivsky Bridge began no later than June 22, when Ukrainian special forces almost surrounded Russian patrols on duty on the southern side, but they managed to withdraw with fighting.

By 6 p.m. on June 25, up to 50 Ukrainian soldiers had already concentrated on the left bank of the Dnipro. According to Russian "military experts," the Ukrainians even managed to deploy mobile electronic warfare units to the bridgehead, which disable Russian drones. At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to transfer reinforcements, ammunition, and weapons to the left bank at night using speedboats and are trying to expand the bridgehead.

Toward midnight, Russian "military commanders" estimated the number of Ukrainian troops at the bridgehead at 100. According to them, the activity of Ukrainians in the area has increased significantly, they have established themselves on the left bank and are trying to expand the bridgehead.

It is pointed out that the Ukrainian military is using the surviving spans of the Antonivsky Bridge as a shelter from Russian artillery and mortar fire. They could be completely destroyed by air strikes with powerful high-explosive bombs. But, according to the pro-Russian telegram channel Dva Maiory, requests for air strikes by the Russian ground forces remain unanswered. According to the channel's authors, this is due to problems in the interaction between the branches of the Russian armed forces ("due to the complexity of information flow"). However, there may be other reasons, such as fears that the planes that will be sent for this task will be targeted by Ukrainian air defense systems on the right side of the Dnipro.

Another Russian telegram channel, whose author claims to be directly involved in the war, reports that the Russian command is inactive on the frontline near Antonivsky Bridge for an unknown reason.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 27/06/2023

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