Ukrainian Army Pushes Russian Forces Back from Dnipro River in Major Breakthrough
Ukrainian army successfully pushes back Russian forces from the banks of the Dnipro river, marking a major advance after months of disappointing counteroffensives. Drone attacks intensify, and Ukraine boosts its defenses. Russian President Putin to attend virtual G20 summit. Teenage Ukrainian orphan returns home after being taken by Russian forces.
In a significant development in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the Ukrainian army announced on Sunday that it had successfully pushed Russian forces back from the banks of the Dnipro river. This marks the first major advance by Kyiv's forces in months, following a disappointing counteroffensive. Ukrainian and Russian forces have been entrenched on opposite sides of the river for over a year, with Ukraine attempting several unsuccessful crossings. However, last week, Ukrainian officials reported a successful breakthrough.
❗️The Russians lying en masse near Avdiivka, south of Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast, Donbas region. Tell Russia's Putin to bring them back to the Russian Federation.— Herry Rodin (@HerryRodinNapit) November 12, 2023
Ukraine's forces expand their bridgeheads on the left bank of Dnipro River, Kherson Oblast #UkraineWar #Zelensky pic.twitter.com/w5sZkrcMFP
Preliminary figures suggest that the Ukrainian army has advanced between three to eight kilometers on the left bank of the Dnipro, depending on the specific geography of the area. Army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk stated that Ukraine's military had made progress, but did not confirm complete control over the area or if the Russians had retreated. The enemy forces continue to engage in artillery fire on the right bank, with an estimated several tens of thousands of Russian troops in the vicinity. The pushback of Russian troops offers a positive development for Ukraine as it provides protection to Ukrainian towns and villages on the western shores of the river that have faced constant shelling over the past year.
Additionally, a bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro could potentially allow for a deeper offensive in the south of the country, though this would require the deployment of more troops and armor in the challenging marshy region. In recent weeks, drone attacks have intensified, representing a defining characteristic of the conflict. Both Kyiv and Moscow were targeted on Saturday night, with both sides claiming to have intercepted most of the attacks and reported no casualties. Ukrainian drone attacks on Moscow had been frequent in the spring but became rare in recent weeks.
On the other hand, Kyiv was targeted by a barrage of Iranian-made Shahed drones packed with explosives, launched by Russian forces. Russia claimed to have hit a fuel depot in Ukraine's central Kirovograd region and an ammunition warehouse near the capital Kyiv, while Ukraine stated that it shot down 15 of 20 Russian drones. To combat the increasing wave of Russian drone attacks, Kyiv announced that it is boosting the number of mobile groups capable of responding. The Ukrainian air force reported shooting down 29 out of 38 Shahed drones launched by Russian forces across the country in a single night, the highest number of drones launched by Moscow since September.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed concerns that Russia will escalate attacks on Ukraine's energy system to paralyze the country's heat and power supply, particularly as winter approaches. On the diplomatic front, Russian President Vladimir Putin will participate in a virtual G20 leaders' summit on Wednesday, after skipping the in-person meeting in New Delhi in September. Putin has made few trips outside of Russia since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him over the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.
The G20 consists of 19 of the world's largest economies, along with the European Union and the African Union. In a separate development, a teenage Ukrainian orphan, Bogdan Yermokhin, who was taken from Mariupol by Russian forces at the beginning of the invasion, has returned home. Yermokhin's case garnered attention after Russia issued a draft summons for him to report for mandatory military conscription ahead of his 18th birthday. Ukraine has identified approximately 20,000 children taken by Russia during the invasion, with only around 400 having been returned. The ICC has also issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Russia's children's commissioner for the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.