Day 425: Ukrainian troops likely establish foothold on eastern bank of Dnipro near Kherson

Ukrainian troops likely establish a foothold on the eastern bank of the Dnipro near Kherson. Unmanned boats strike a naval base in Crimea’s Sevastopol. Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia call for NATO security guarantees to Ukraine before membership.

Ukrainian troops establish foothold on eastern bank of Dnipro near Kherson. Here’s what is known

Report by the Institute for the Study of War. Ukrainian forces have established positions in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast as of April 22, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a report, quoting Russian milbloggers who had provided enough geolocated footage and textual reports to confirm that.

Geolocated footage published by a Russian milblogger on April 22 shows that Ukrainian forces have established positions on the Dnipro River bank north of Oleshky (7km southwest of Kherson City, on the eastern bank of the river) and advanced up to the northern outskirts of the settlement on the E97 highway, as well as west of Dachi (10km south of Kherson City), the ISW said.

This footage also indicates that Russian forces may not control islands in the Kinka and Chaika rivers less than half a kilometer north of the geolocated Ukrainian positions near the Antonivsky Bridge.

Russian milbloggers claimed on April 20 and 22 that Ukrainian forces have maintained positions in east bank Kherson Oblast for weeks, established stable supply lines to these positions, and regularly conduct sorties in the area—all indicating a lack of Russian control over the area. The extent and intent of these Ukrainian positions remain unclear, as does Ukraine’s ability and willingness to maintain sustained positions in this area, the ISW said.

Comments by Ukrainian military official. Head of the joint press center of the Defense Forces of Southern Ukraine, Natalia Humenyuk neither confirmed nor denied a report by the Institute for the Study of War that Ukrainian troops had crossed the Dnipro and established positions along the eastern bank of the river in Kherson region.

She said a report by the analysts represents “their assumptions, understanding and views”. “We need to trust the military that does the combat work,” Humenyuk said.

Unmanned boats strike naval base in Crimea

Three Ukrainian unmanned boats attacked a Russian-controlled military port in Crimea, Russian authorities said on Monday, April 24. 

The drone boats attacked the base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol’s Striletska Bay. Editor-in-chief of Ukrainian news site “BlackSeaNews” Andriy Klymenko said he identified the site of the explosion that appears on a video. “The unmanned boat made it through to the Striletska Bay in Sevastopol. It exploded opposite the campus of the Sevastopol Engineering Instrumentation Institute — that was its name when I used to be a student there,” Klymenko said. 

A Russian coast guard brigade is based in the bay, he added.

Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia call for NATO security guarantees to Ukraine before membership

Now is the time for NATO to lay out a clear and credible path for Ukraine’s membership, if and when Kyiv wishes and when conditions allow. And until then, the alliance must be ready to provide security guarantees, beyond political assurances, that prevent Ukraine from becoming a gray zone once and for all, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a joint article for Foreign Affairs. 

“Nor is it too early to plan for Ukraine’s postwar security guarantees. There will be no investment and sustainable reconstruction in Ukraine unless it is able to defend itself against future aggression,” the article reads.

At its upcoming summit in Vilnius, NATO will have to answer difficult yet unavoidable questions about the alliance’s future, including its relationship to Ukraine and its future strategy on Russia, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland said.

In 2008, the allies decided that Ukraine’s future (along with Georgia’s) should involve membership in NATO.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas supported Ukraine’s calls for accession to NATO “as soon as conditions allow” during a visit to Zhytomyr on Monday.

“In the context of the NATO Vilnius Summit (in July), we agree to work together to establish a path that will help bring Ukraine closer to NATO membership and pave the way for Ukraine to join NATO as soon as conditions allow,” Kallas said.

The time has come to define security guarantees for Ukraine for the period before NATO membership, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week, as he spoke of his expectations for a NATO summit in Vilnius.

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