A Blog by Jonathan Low


Mar 8, 2024

Ukraine Expands Cross-Dnipro Bridgehead As Russia Looks Elsewhere

Last month, the Russian military claimed to have eliminated the Ukrainian bridgehead around Krynky on the east bank of the Dnipro River. It was a great story, coming on top of the Russian advances at Avdiivka. Except it wasn't true. 

In reality, the Ukrainian Marines have now opened a second bridgehead around the damaged Antonovsky Bridge, which, if partially repaired, could support a stronger armored incursion across the Dnipro. Russian efforts to eliminate the original bridgehead have failed repeatedly and suggest that Russian forces are more limited that some western media report. JL  

Stefan Korshak reports in the Kyiv Post:

The Ukrainian bridgehead across the Dnipro River that Russia last month reported eliminated, just got bigger. Kyiv’s Marines crossed the river at a second location, and are digging in there. The new Ukrainian incursion is around the the Antonovsky Bridge, linking Kherson to the east bank. “The Kremlin prematurely claimed the seizure of Krynky to reinforce desired information ahead of the March 2024 election, although the Kremlin set expectations the Russian military is failing to meet.” Russian attacks against the bridgehead stalled in the face of tough resistance, Ukrainian air defenses, and Ukrainian drones. “The stories about how Ukraine doesn’t have artillery, it’s absolute bullsh*t."

A tenacious Ukrainian bridgehead across the Dnipro River Russian state-controlled media last month reported had been eliminated, looks to have just got bigger.

Russian milbloggers and patriotic websites had been livid for weeks following a Feb. 21 nationally televised briefing showing Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu telling his boss Vladimir Putin that Moscow’s forces had overrun positions held by Ukrainian marines on the left bank of Ukraine’s biggest waterway, near the city of  Kherson.

The ragged bridgehead around the fishing and summer vacation village of Krynky, first confirmed in mid-October, is according to independent news reports – and despite Shoigu’s public claim – still manned by a few hundred members of Ukraine’s crack Marine brigades supplied by small boats from the right bank.


Now Kyiv’s amphibious infantry have crossed the river at a second location, and they’re trying to dig in there as well, multiple pro-Russia sources are now reporting.

The new Ukrainian cross-river incursion according to multiple Russian military information platforms is around the remains of the Antonovsky Bridge, a span linking the city of Kherson to the left bank before being destroyed by Ukrainian precision-guided rockets in September 2022, reports said.


The virulently pro-Kremlin writer Pozyvnoi Osetin, purportedly a service member in the Kherson sector, on March 7 confirmed Ukrainian troops were digging in at the south end of the bridge in formerly Russian-controlled territory, and called for immediate air and artillery strikes to get rid of them.


“Unfortunately, that’s (Ukrainian expansion of the Dnipro bridgehead) the reality. This is in spite that (general) Teplinskiy told Putin Krynky was captured by Russian forces long ago. So now they’ve been ‘mopping up’ the place (and pretending Ukrainian forces were destroyed) for the last two weeks,” wrote VDV Za Chesnost’, a military blogger promoting Russian paratrooper units.


The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) opined on the disconnect between Kremlin narrative and the actual situation in the Dnipro bridghead: “The Kremlin likely prematurely claimed the Russian seizure of Krynky to reinforce its desired informational effects ahead of the March 2024 presidential election, although the Kremlin is likely setting expectations that the Russian military may fail to meet.”

According to Dnevnik Desantnika, another pro-Kremlin milblogger focusing on Russian paratroop units, Ukrainian Marines holding the main Ukrainian bridgehead near Krynky, some 20 km. upstream from the Antonovsky Bridge, had pushed back Kremlin airborne troops and captured the adjacent village of Kozachi Laheri.

“The (vulgar word for Ukrainians) are throwing reserves and strengthening their forces in multiple sectors, but the main areas where they’ve been spotted is around the Antonovsky bridge and next to Kozachi Laheri. The enemy has reinforced his drone units, and the sky is just buzzing with them, from recon drones to strike drones,” he reported on March 5.

Dva Majora, a widely read Kremlin military blogger with more 580,000+ Telegram subscribers, confirmed Ukrainian troops had gained ground at both locations but claimed “the enemy around the Antonovsky bridge is being destroyed methodically.”


There has been no official Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) comment on recent marine advances on the Dnipro left bank. The AFU Friday morning situation update didn’t even mention recent operations in the Kherson sector.

Reports from both sides agree Russian combat operations against the bridgehead stalled in the face of tough resistance by Ukrainian infantrymen sheltering in basements and ruined buildings alongside the Dnipro, increased effectiveness of Ukrainian air defenses against Russian bomber jets, and hundreds of Ukrainian drones swarming airspace around the bridgehead.

Ukrainian Ground Forces Capt. Robert Brovi, overall commander of most military drone teams operating in the Kherson sector, on March 2 claimed that Kremlin forces operating in the bridgehead sector since the Marines’ October crossing of the Dnipro lost more than 230 armored vehicles and artillery pieces.

Ukrainian Air Force pilots also had blown up close to 300 supply vehicles and 17 small boats operated by Russian forces. Ukrainian official army sources have reported continuing Russian losses in the bridgehead sector, due to drones, for months.


Kyiv Post could not confirm the precise Ukrainian kill claims. Intense Ukrainian drone operations in the Kherson-Krynky sector, particularly targeting individual Russian soldiers, is well-established.

Over the last few days, Kyiv’s forces have appeared to overcome shell shortages to hit Russian troops in the area with artillery as well, some sources said. In a video reportedly recorded in the Krynky sector, a Russian soldier said it was unsafe to move above ground because of explosives-toting drones. Hiding underground was still dangerous due to newly deployed Ukrainian cluster munitions and conventional artillery shells. During the recording the detonation of dozens of cluster munitions is audible:

“They’re chopping us up. They’re pouring cluster munitions on us. We’re trying to survive until we get evacuated. There’re all sorts of stuff coming down on us all the time. And we’re just lying in this little hole, no space for anything, and we’re just hiding. This is the third day,” said the Russian soldier later identifying himself as a member of an elite Kremlin marine brigade.

“The stories about how they (Ukrainian forces) don’t have artillery shells, it’s absolute bullsh*t. They have boatloads of shells. They (expletive) shoot without stopping, but with us, there really is a shell shortage. Our guys, in response, absolute f*cking silence,” he said.

The Ukrainian journalist Anatol Tsiaplienko posted the video in his personal Telegram channel on Sunday. Kyiv Post reviewed the video and determined it was very likely authentic evidence of Ukrainian conventional shell and cluster munition strikes on a Russian position, but it was not possible to confirm the combat took place in the Krynky sector.


Post a Comment