The Ukrainian counteroffensive goes on with slow but steady progress. Ukrainian forces continue to attack along four main axes of advance in the Donbas and in southern Ukraine.
However, in the last week of fighting, Ukrainian forces crossed the Dnipro River in the Kherson Oblast, threatening to open another front that would stretch Russian troops even more.
Crossing the Dnipro
The Ukrainian military is now on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River for the first time since the first weeks of the Russian invasion.
Using a variety of methods, the Ukrainian forces have established a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River near the destroyed Antonivsky Bridge. It was the Ukrainians who destroyed the bridge through long-range fires to deny the Russian forces on the western bank of the Dnipro River an easy escape last fall.
There is intense fighting in the area as the Russian military, including the elite 7th Guards Air Assault Division, tries to stall the attackers and throw the Ukrainians into the water.
However, the Russian military has to account for manpower shortages as it has had to relocate units from the area to other parts of the battlefield to plug gaps created by the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“In recent weeks, Russia has highly likely reallocated elements of DGF [Dnipro Group of Forces] defending the bank of the Dnipro to reinforce the Zaporizhzhia sector,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
This seems to be the Ukrainian strategy: attack in multiple places and stretch the Russian forces until they start cracking, opening the way for an operational breakthrough that would reshape the battlefield.
But fighting in the area is further complicated by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam and Hydroelectric Power Station by the Russian forces in early June. The subsequent flooding has made large-scale mechanized warfare in the area difficult.
“Combat around the bridgehead is almost certainly complicated by the flooding, destruction, and residual mud from the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam on 06 June 2023,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
On day 493 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to take serious casualties on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the artillery duel between the two sides continues with little respite. Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian forces claim to have destroyed 35 Russian artillery pieces; since the start of the counteroffensive, the Ukrainians have likely destroyed over 200 Russian artillery weapons.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 228,870 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 308 attack and transport helicopters, 4,042 tanks, 4,162 artillery pieces, 7,868 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 632 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,794 vehicles and fuel tanks, 389 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,545 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 580 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,261 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.