Ukrainian forces were reported to be recapturing towns along the west bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine on Monday, with Moscow forced to yield territory along a second major front line just days after claiming to have annexed it.
The scale of the Ukrainian advance was unconfirmed, with Kyiv maintaining all but complete silence about the situation in the area. But Russian military bloggers described a Ukrainian tank advance through dozens of kilometers of territory along the bank of the river.
In one of the rare comments by a Ukrainian official on the situation, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the interior ministry, posted what he said was video of a Ukrainian soldier waving a flag in Zolota Balka, downriver from the former front line.
Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute think-tank, cited Russian bloggers as reporting their forces falling back as far as Dudchany – 40 km (25 miles) downriver from where they had opposed Ukrainian troops a day earlier.
“When this many Russian channels are sounding the alarm, it usually means they’re in trouble,” he wrote on Twitter.
A Ukrainian advance along the Dnipro river could trap thousands of Russian troops on the far side, cut off from all supplies. The river is enormously wide, and Ukraine has already destroyed the major crossings.
The reports were the first to describe a rapid Ukrainian advance in the south of the country since the war began, and come just a day after Ukraine routed Russian troops in a major bastion, Lyman, on the opposite end of the front in the east.