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- Ukraine’s nighttime raid across the Dnipro was likely a ‘distraction,’ a defense expert said.
- Ukraine is seeking to breach Russian defenses at several points across the front line.
- So far Ukraine has made slow but incremental gains.
Ukraine’s daring nighttime raid on Russian positions across the Dnipro River was likely a “distraction” as Ukraine seeks to breach Russia’s defenses, experts said.
On Tuesday, reports emerged that Ukrainian special forces launched an attack on Russian positions across the river that forms part of the front line in the south of the country, taking Russian forces by surprise and reportedly killing or capturing dozens of soldiers.
Professor Michael Clark, a defense expert at King’s College London, told Sky News that Ukraine appeared to be attempting to establish multiple bridgeheads across the river as part of its counteroffensive.
But he told Sky News that the raid appeared to be “more of a distraction than anything else,” which could encourage Russia to divert forces to cope with the attack and leave other parts of its defenses exposed.
“The biggest breach they’ve made is south of Zaporizhzhia. They’ve got another one in Bakhmut, and another at Velyka Novosilka further south – so they’ve got at least four breaches,” Clark said, referring to various parts of the 600-mile front line where Ukraine is seeking to punch through Russia’s defensives.
“They are going to try to go through one or more rather quickly,” he added.
Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army major-general and military strategist, echoed that assessment in comments to The Financial Times.
“The Ukrainian armed forces will be hoping that the Kherson raid puts the Russians in a dilemma about whether Ukraine is going to do something more significant in Kherson or . . . draw off Russian reserves,” he said.
Ryan told the FT that both sides were “trying to find weaknesses in their adversary,” while luring them into diverting resources and spreading confusion.
The Dnipro raid was mentioned on Tuesday by US think tank The Institute for The Study of War, having initially been reported by Russian military bloggers.
The ISW said that it “remains unclear whether Ukrainian troops have established an enduring presence on the east bank.”
In June, Ukraine established a bridgehead near the Antonovsky Bridge on the Dnipro, reports said.
In an interview with the Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian military commander said that Ukrainian forces were conducting regular raids across the Dnipro to probe weaknesses in Russian defenses, and to distract Russian forces from shelling the nearby Ukrainian-held city of Kherson.
“We attack them where they least expect us,” the commander said.