Ukrainian forces cross the Dnipro River

Briefly: For the first time since the early days of the war, Ukrainian forces have established a foothold on the east bank of the Dnipro River, near the Ukrainian-held city of Kherson.

There are several theories about what exactly this means:

  1. 🛥️ Ukrainian troops could be pushing Russian forces back as they begin their long-awaited spring counter-offensive
  2. 🏰 Russian troops could be withdrawing strategically to fortify nearby urban positions, allowing Ukrainian troops to cross the Dnipro, and/or
  3. 🧭 The Ukrainian advance across the Dnipro could just be a diversion

Analysts expect any Ukrainian counter-offensive to focus on breaking the “land bridge” that links Russian-held areas to Crimea. So that’d fit theories 1 and 2.

But with Ukraine’s solid track record of diversionary tactics, and its promise of “informational silence” around its counter-offensive, theory 3 is just as solid.

Intrigue’s take: This river crossing was first detailed in a US-based think tank report containing several other intriguing details, including:

  • Russia “losing control” of some detachments in Ukraine
  • Central Asian migrants losing Russian citizenship if they don’t fight
  • And even a Russian unit made up entirely of soccer hooligans

It all paints a picture of weakened Russian forces that are neither “emotionally [n]or intellectually prepared to respond” to a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

But even with new NATO weapons and training, the report notes Ukraine’s counter-offensive will be “daunting” and larger than any of its offensive efforts to date. So Kyiv will need plenty more “crossing the Dnipro” moments ahead.

Also worth noting: