Military experts are reporting extensive strikes on Russian-held territory in the south, potentially with the goal of establishing a bridgehead on the east bank of the Dnipro.
Ukrainian forces have stepped up assaults across the Dnipro river near the southern city of Kherson, carrying out raids into Russian-controlled territory on the eastern bank. The increased activity has prompted speculation among analysts and in Russian military circles that Kyiv might be planning a more ambitious effort to open a new front in the war.
In recent days, Western military analysts have cited geolocated video footage that shows Ukrainian forces operating in a number of locations deeper behind enemy lines than previously witnessed.
“Ukrainian actions appear to be larger than previously observed tactical raids,” analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research institute, said on Thursday night.
The Ukrainian military has remained largely silent on the amphibious operations into Russian-held territory near Kherson, and the extent of its ambitions with the river crossings are unknown. In the past, Ukrainian attacks across the river have been limited in scope and duration, with multiple goals, including reconnaissance, sabotage, and attacks aimed at undermining Russian defenses and logistical operations.
But President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, speaking to reporters during his trip to Beijing this week, indicated that the Kremlin believes the new assaults are more ambitious, claiming that they were part of the “next counteroffensive.”
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