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Frontline report: Intense fighting continues along Dnipro River crossing

Overall, the fighting in Krynky in Kherson’s east bank , is “extremely tough,” and the Russian attacks here are as intense as in other hot spots.
Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Intense fighting continues along Dnipro River crossing

Day 666.

On 22 December, there were a lot of updates from the Kherson Obast. In light of the increased hostilities along the eastern front, Ukrainian operations in the Kherson region started playing an increasingly important role.

In fact, the last month has proved that Ukrainian operations on the eastern bank of the river are of strategic significance because Russians are forced to deploy their reserves to this region instead of devoting them to their offensive campaign.

The strategic importance became apparent approximately two weeks ago when Russians suddenly increased the intensity of ground operations by up to 20 times and started conducting one mechanized assault after another.

Last time, I showed combat footage where Ukrainians destroyed more than ten pieces of heavy equipment in one day, which at that time constituted 10% of all losses in heavy equipment over all preceding days, so the increase in intensity was sudden and huge.

Some analysts concluded that Ukrainian operations and the threat of potential expansion are interfering with the Russian offensive campaign, which is why they decided to solve this problem once and for all.

At first glance, it seems surprising that Russian forces were unable to push Ukrainians basically back into the river. However, if we look at the topographic map, we can see that the Ukrainian bank of the river is significantly higher than the Russian bank. The average difference in elevation is around 50 meters.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

Such a strong position allowed the Ukrainians to control the vast ground in front of them and help the marines hold the bridgehead. In fact, Russian soldiers report that they are very often suffering from Ukrainian tank fire from the other bank when they try to attack Krynky. So, the topography of the region is the key factor in the success of Ukrainian operations. If we zoom out, the reason why Ukrainians did not conduct the same operations upstream becomes clear as well – the eastern bank is too high here, giving Ukrainians no tactical advantage.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

So, the hills allow Ukrainians to exert significant control over the region.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

The inability of the Russian forces to hold the eastern bank of the river has been a point of concern for every Russian military analyst, without exception. The Russian commanders responsible for this region continuously endured harsh criticism.

During his annual forum, Vladimir Putin tried to address and downplay the situation by saying that he personally ordered the High Command to create this trap and allow Ukrainians to enter it. He added that this was “a great success because Ukrainians lost dozens of soldiers, while Russians only had several men wounded.”

Such an out-of-touch comment discredited everything he said before because even judging by the publicly available footage, the verified Russian losses of heavy equipment are already at around 150 pieces, while the losses in personnel are in the thousands. By the way, 150 pieces of heavy equipment are almost as many as Russians lost in Avdiivka, which confirms that Ukrainian operations are undermining Russian offensive capabilities tremendously.

Two days after Putin’s speech, the New York Times released an article where they called the Dnipro Crossing a suicide operation and questioned the judgment of the Ukrainian command.

Ukrainian fighters that are actually operating in Kherson right now quickly responded to the article. The commander of the deadliest drone detachment Madiar, who is working closely with the marines, stated that the dishonest journalists manipulated the psychologically unstable soldiers to open up and took advantage of them by picking very specific quotes to paint a picture that they had in mind even before the interviews. He said that he was also approached by them but declined an interview because he did not trust them.

Over the last ten days, Madiar has also released a lot of combat footage showing how they have been destroying one Russian assault unit after another. Most of the assault units consisted of 2 vehicles: either two tanks, two armored vehicles, or a combination of both.

Sometimes, Russians used armored cars, but not extensively. Over the last day, the most valuable target became yet another heavy thermobaric artillery system, the TOS-1.

Ukrainian fighters from the 35th Marine Brigade also have a drone detachment that works with marines even closer. The videos show how they destroyed multiple tanks and armored fighting vehicles. The manines from the 36th, 37th, and 38th Brigades are also active in the region and showed several videos with the destruction of two tanks and two armored fighting vehicles. Other detachments are more focused on the Russian rear and counterbattery fire and destroyed multiple Russian Grads, Uragans, Giatsynts, D-20 howitzers, as well as ammunition depots, personnel concentrations, and other equipment.

Overall, the fighting in Krynky is extremely tough, and the Russian attacks here are as intense as in other hot spots. Nonetheless, Ukrainians are successfully leveraging the high ground to provide the fire support necessary for the marines that are operating in Krynky.

The surge in intensity means that Russians are not comfortable with the Ukrainian bridgehead and try to eliminate it by any means. The fact that Russians are constantly reinforcing this area and losing their forces means that they cannot use them for their offensives in the east, alleviating the pressure on the Ukrainian defenses and undermining Russian plans.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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