Can a Simple Movement Across the Dnipro River ignite a Massive Comeback for Ukraine’s Counterattacks?
The Ukrainian army has made significant strides this week by advancing across the Dnipro River in the Kherson region and striking Tokmak, a southern Ukrainian town that is occupied by Russia and is a strategic crossroads for a potential counteroffensive in the southeast.
As Kiev prepares for a counteroffensive, there have been two recent events in southern Ukraine that have drawn military observers’ attention and raised questions about whether the much-anticipated Ukrainian counterattack has already begun.
Tokmak, which is occupied by the Russians, was hit by Ukrainian shells on April 25th. A day earlier, Ukrainian troops near Kherson successfully crossed the Dnipro River, which is a natural line of defence for the Russian army.
Although the two operations occurred 300 kilometers apart, they “both suggest Ukrainian military activity in the Crimeadirection,” said Sim Tack from Force Analysis, a company specializing in military analysis.
The Institute for the Study of War reported that Russian military bloggers on Telegram had confirmed that Ukrainian soldiers had crossed the Dnipro River.
The operation occurred near Oleshky, south of Kherson and at the starting point of “a direct road towards Crimea,” which would be the logical route to reach the peninsula
Testing Russian defences appears to be the aim of the two operations observed so far. Jeff Hawn, a Russian military specialist and consultant for New Line Institute, a US geopolitical research center, said the activity could constitute “the first phase of the counteroffensive.”
It is still too early to determine whether Ukrainian forces plan to launch a counteroffensive to advance into the southeastern territory or in the north into Donbas, but the pressure to do so is mounting due to international pressure.
The pressure could also impact how operations are planned, and there is also pressure to regain as much ground as possible.