Tuesday, May 7

Ukrainian troop positions spark counteroffensive hypothesis

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian navy forces have efficiently established positions on the jap facet of the Dnieper River, in accordance with a brand new evaluation, giving rise to hypothesis Sunday that the advances might be an early signal of Kyiv’s long-awaited spring counteroffensive.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based suppose tank, reported late Saturday that geolocated footage from pro-Kremlin navy bloggers indicated that Ukrainian troops had established a foothold close to the city of Oleshky, together with “stable supply lines” to their positions.

Analysts extensively imagine that if Ukraine goes forward with a spring counteroffensive, a significant aim can be to interrupt via the land hall between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula, which might necessitate crossing the Dnieper River within the nation’s south.

Responding to Ukrainian media studies proclaiming that the institution of such positions indicated the counteroffensive had begun, Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Operational Command South, known as for endurance.

While neither confirming nor denying the ISW report, she stated solely that particulars of navy operations within the Dnieper delta couldn’t be disclosed for operational and safety causes.

Speaking on Ukrainian tv, Humeniuk added that it was “very difficult work” when “it’s necessary to overcome an obstacle such as the Dnieper, when the front line passes through a wide and powerful river.”

The Kremlin-installed head of the Kherson area, certainly one of 4 elements of Ukraine that Russia stated it was illegally annexing in September, denied on Sunday that Ukrainian forces have established a foothold on the east financial institution of the Dnieper, Russia’s state RIA Novosti company reported.

According to RIA, Vladimir Saldo advised its reporters that Russian forces are “in full control” of the world, and speculated that the photographs referenced by the ISW could have depicted Ukrainian sabotage items that “managed to take a selfie” throughout the Dnieper earlier than being compelled again.

After greater than a 12 months because the Russian invasion, current combating has change into a conflict of attrition, with neither facet in a position to achieve momentum.

But Ukraine has lately acquired subtle weapons from its Western allies, and new troops freshly educated within the West, giving rise to rising anticipation of a counteroffensive.

The fiercest battles have been within the jap Donetsk area, the place Russia is struggling to encircle the town of Bakhmut within the face of dogged Ukrainian protection.

On Sunday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed Moscow’s forces had captured two extra neighborhoods within the western a part of Bakhmut, with out offering additional particulars or clarifying what areas have been nonetheless in Ukrainian palms.

In the south, the Dnieper has for months marked the contact line within the Kherson area, the place its namesake capital is repeatedly pummeled by shelling from Russian forces stationed throughout the river.

In addition to having established a foothold close to the city of Oleshky, throughout the Dnieper delta from Kherson, ISW stated that Ukrainian troops have been additionally approaching the close by village of Dachi, citing information from Russian navy bloggers.

In Telegram posts on Thursday and Saturday, ISW stated the bloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces had maintained these positions for weeks and established steady provide traces to them, indicating an absence of Russian management over the world.

The Associated Press confirmed the posts from the bloggers, however it wasn’t instantly potential to independently confirm the information they shared.

Russia can be anticipated to launch extra intensive assaults within the spring, however ISW reported that high Russian protection figures are exhibiting indicators that they could be pushing for a consolidation of current positive factors in Ukraine, moderately than expensive new operations, as Moscow struggles with each materials and manpower.

The suppose tank cited feedback from financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the pinnacle of the Wagner Group – a personal Russian navy firm whose fighters have spearheaded the offensive on Bakhmut.

On Saturday, Prigozhin’s press service posted feedback he made on its official Telegram channel through which he argued that Russian forces must “anchor (themselves) in such a way that it is only possible to tear them out with (the) opponent’s claws.”

The interview was revealed shortly after Western leaders assembly on the Ramstein Air Base in Germany pledged to coach extra Ukrainian personnel and sustain their navy assist for Kyiv.

As Moscow seeks to bolster its troop numbers, the U.Ok. Ministry of Defense famous Sunday in an intelligence briefing that Russian authorities had mounted a large-scale navy recruitment marketing campaign utilizing social media, billboards and state tv.

It stated Russian officers are “almost certainly seeking to delay any new, overt mandatory mobilization for as long as possible to minimize domestic dissent,” whereas assessing that this newest effort would probably fail to fulfill the protection ministry’s said aim of recruiting 400,000 new volunteers.

In assaults in a single day, native authorities in jap Ukraine reported that Russian forces had launched no less than 5 S-300 missiles at Kharkiv, the nation’s second-largest metropolis and the encircling area.

The missiles broken an industrial facility and personal houses however induced no casualties, in accordance with Oleh Syniehubov, the Kharkiv regional governor.

In Kherson, one civilian was killed and two have been wounded as Russian troops used artillery, drones and warplanes to launch a complete of 54 strikes on the province, Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin stated on Telegram on Sunday morning.

Russian forces on Saturday and in a single day additionally dropped 5 guided aerial bombs over the Kherson area, Ukraine’s Operational Command South stated in a Facebook submit Sunday. According to the submit, the bombs have been launched from drones and plane and broken a number of residential buildings, however induced no casualties.

Also within the Kherson area, two ladies, ages 85 and 57, have been hospitalized after being wounded in a Russian artillery assault that broken an area college and about 25 residential buildings within the village of Kizomys, Prokudin stated in a Telegram submit.

In the neighboring Zaporizhzhia area, Russian shelling wounded a 56-year-old man in Stepnohirsk, a city on the banks of the Dnieper river, native Gov. Yurii Malashko wrote on Telegram.


Joanna Kozlowska reported from London.

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