Ukraine claims a new ‘foothold’ in the country’s south. What does that mean for Kyiv’s efforts to keep the West on its side? | News World

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Kyiv, Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in need of a morale boost: In recent weeks, the country’s resistance against Russian invasion has receded from the headlines amid Israel’s war on Hamas; a much-heralded counteroffensive has yielded only incremental gains; and support in Washington appears to be wavering.

But a bright spot of news appeared this week, when President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said Ukrainian forces had “gained a foothold” on the left bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine, marking a potentially significant advance for Ukraine across a natural defensive barrier for Russian forces.  

Reports first emerged last month that Ukrainian troops had crossed the Dnipro into the Russian-occupied Kherson region, with pro-Kremlin military bloggers saying that Ukrainian forces were establishing positions around the village of Krynky, warning that Ukraine meant to establish a firm bridgehead across the river.

Ukraine had staged cross-river raids before in the region, but on a visit to Washington, Yermak made it public that Ukrainian forces had established a sustained presence on the eastern bank of the Dnipro “against all odds,” according to a transcript released Tuesday by the Ukrainian presidential office.

It was welcome news after weeks of pessimistic headlines for Ukraine.

In a recent interview with the Economist, General Valery Zaluzhny acknowledged that Ukrainian forces had failed to achieve a major breakthrough of layered Russian defensive lines. Comparing the current…

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