Home International Russia says it scuppers more Ukrainian attempts to cross the Dnipro

Russia says it scuppers more Ukrainian attempts to cross the Dnipro

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Russia said on Tuesday that marines, aviation and artillery had scuppered more Ukrainian attempts to gain a foothold on the eastern bank of the River Dnipro and on islands at the mouth of the river in southern Ukraine.

A view shows the city skyline and a rocky island in the Dnipro river which became visible after water level sharply dropped following the Kakhovka dam destruction, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, June 25, 2023. File picture: Reuters

MOSCOW – Russia said on Tuesday that marines, aviation and artillery had scuppered more Ukrainian attempts to gain a foothold on the eastern bank of the River Dnipro and on islands at the mouth of the river in southern Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022, triggering a major European land war and the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West since the depths of the Cold War.

Ukraine said this month that its forces had crossed the Dnipro and established several bridgeheads on the eastern banks of the river, though Russia said it was pummelling the Ukrainian positions.

“Black Sea Fleet marines are stopping all attempts by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to carry out amphibious landings on the Dnipro islands and the left bank of the Dnipro River,” Russia’s defence ministry said.

The Russian defence ministry published a video which it said showed marines from the 810th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade defeating Ukrainian forces. Soldiers were shown firing a variety of weapons, though the result of the fighting was unclear.

It said Ukrainian forces were suffering heavy casualties and losing equipment in unsuccessful attempts to land on islands in the Dnipro. Reuters was unable to immediately verify battlefield accounts from either side.

It is still unclear how significant the Ukrainian attempt to gain a foothold on the eastern bank of the Dnipro is. Crossing the Dnipro leaves Ukrainian units exposed between river and marshland on one side and heavily fortified Russian lines on the other.

Along with Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Russia now controls 17.5% of Ukraine’s internationally recognised territory. A Ukrainian counter-offensive has failed to make any significant gains this year against Russian forces.

According to unverified reports by pro-Russian bloggers, Russia has been harrying Ukrainian forces near the village Krynky, near marshes on the eastern bank upriver from Kherson, from which Russia withdrew its forces in autumn 2022.

CIVILIAN DEATH TOLL TOPS 10,000

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Office said on Tuesday that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, with about half of recent deaths occurring far behind the front lines.

The UN human rights mission in Ukraine, which has dozens of monitors in the country, said it expects the real toll to be “significantly higher” than the official tally since corroboration work is ongoing.

This includes events in the first months after the invasion, such as the battle for control of Mariupol, where residents reported high civilian casualties.

“Ten thousand civilian deaths is a grim milestone for Ukraine,” said Danielle Bell, who heads the monitoring mission.

“The Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, now entering into its 21st month, risks evolving into a protracted conflict, with the severe human cost being painful to fathom,” she said.

The vast majority of the deaths have been caused by explosive weapons with a wide-area impact such as shells, missiles and cluster munitions, the United Nations said.

Close to half of the deaths in the last three months have occurred far beyond the front lines, the UN said, attributing this to Russian forces’ use of long-range missiles and the late explosion of abandoned ordinances.

Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians.

BERLIN ANNOUNCES 1.3BN MILITARY AID PACKAGE

Germany will support Ukraine with another military aid package worth 1.3 billion euros that will include four additional IRIS-T air defence units, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said in Kyiv on Tuesday.

So far, Berlin has pledged to supply Kyiv with eight IRIS-T systems, three of which have been delivered. Ukraine uses them mainly to guard against Russian missile attacks.

The support package will also comprise 20,000 155mm artillery shells as well as anti-tank mines, Pistorius told reporters, speaking alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov.

“I am sure this will help you in your fight against the Russian aggression,” he said. “This underlines that we stand with Ukraine sustainably and reliably.”

The artillery shells come on top of 140,000 155mm rounds Germany has pledged to deliver next year, Pistorius noted.

– REUTERS

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