Ukraine claims significant advance near the Dnieper
Ukraine claimed on Sunday to have pushed back the Russian army "from 3 to 8 km" deep on the left bank of the Dnieper river occupied by the army of Moscow.
It’s the first numerical estimate of the advance of Kiev's troops in this area, after months of unsuccessful counter-offensives.
“Preliminary figures vary from 3 to 8 km, depending on the specifics, geography and topography of the left bank,” army spokesperson Natalia Goumeniouk told Ukrainian television.
If this advance is confirmed, it would be the biggest push by the Ukrainian army against the Russians in several months.
Natalia Goumeniouk did not, however, indicate whether Ukrainian forces completely controlled this area of the Kherson region or whether the Russian army had withdrawn in the face of attacks by Kiev troops.
“The enemy continues its artillery fire on the right bank,” she detailed, estimating the number of Russian soldiers present in this area at “several tens of thousands”.
News agency AFP has not yet been able to confirm these claims.
Launched in June, the long-awaited counter-offensive by Kyiv and its Western allies failed, allowing the Ukrainian army to retake only a handful of villages in the south and east.
But on Friday, Kyiv said it had taken positions on the left bank of the Dnieper, while reporting “violent fighting” and “strong resistance” from Russia.
Before that, the last major success claimed by Ukraine in its counter-offensive was the recapture of the village of Robotyné in August, in the southern region of Zaporizhia.
Taking positions deep on the left bank of the Dnieper could allow Kyiv to carry out a larger assault in the south. But for this, Ukraine must succeed in deploying its army in this difficult to access, sandy and marshy area, facing solid Russian defences.
Drone attacks reported by Kyiv and Moscow
Both Kyiv and Moscow were targeted overnight from Saturday to Sunday by enemy drone attacks, which were largely intercepted by anti-aircraft defences and did not cause any casualties, according to the authorities.
“An attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack using a drone against installations on the territory of the Russian Federation has been foiled,” the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Ukrainian drone attacks targeting Moscow were particularly frequent in the spring, ahead of and at the start of Kyiv's counter-offensive that began in June - but they have become rare in recent weeks.
According to the account given by the Russian ministry, the drone in question "was destroyed by air defence equipment… above the territory of the urban district of Bogorodsky, in the Moscow region".
The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, later indicated on Telegram that the foiled attack "caused no damage or victims".
Kyiv, too, was a target for the second night in a row of a barrage of explosive drones launched by the Russian army, according to local authorities, who reported “an intensification” of attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
The day before, the Ukrainian Air Force said it had shot down 29 drones out of the 38 launched by Russian forces across the territory in the largest night-time drone attack since the end of September.
On Saturday evening, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he expected Russia to increase its attacks on Ukraine's energy system, with the aim of paralysing the country's heating and electricity supplies in the middle of winter.
“The closer we get to winter, the more the Russians will try to make their strikes more powerful,” he warned in his daily address, calling on his army to be “100% effective, despite all the difficulties, despite the fatigue".