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ISW: Ukrainian military crosses Dnipro; China's stance on Russia cools

by Daria Bevziuk August 9, 2023 7:49 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian soldiers on a pontoon boat used to cross a river near Lyman, Ukraine, October 2022. (Photo by Laurel Chor/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian forces seem to have crossed defensive lines in Kherson Oblast after a raid across the Dnipro River, though their position remains uncertain, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported in its Aug. 8 analysis.

According to the ISW, multiple Russian war bloggers said that around seven boats carrying Ukrainian troops disembarked on the east bank of the Dnipro River, near Kozachi Laheri. They reported that Ukrainian forces managed to breach Russian defenses and push forward by up to 800 meters.

At the same time, head of the Russian-installed administration in the oblast, Vladimir Saldo, played down reports about the Ukrainian landing. He contended that Russian artillery attacks forced the Ukrainian boats to retreat and said there are no Ukrainian troops in the area.

"Saldo was likely purposefully trying to refute claims of Ukrainian presence in this area to avoid creating panic in the already-delicate Russian information space," the ISW writes.

The ISW maintained a position of caution, however, noting the lack of visual evidence that there is a sizable presence of Ukrainian personnel or vehicles near Kozachi Laheri. The current reports suggest a more limited raid across the Dnipro River, rather than a broader Ukrainian operation.

The ISW report also touched on diplomatic relations between China and Russia. A recent discussion between Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi following  peace talks in Saudi Arabia may point to an increasing divide over Russia's war in Ukraine.

The Russian and Chinese foreign ministries presented divergent views of Lavrov and Wang's conversation, with the Chinese ministry characterizing it as "an exchange of views."

The portrayal of the talks by the Chinese Foreign Ministry may imply that the Kremlin is losing satisfaction with China's efforts to advance its peace proposal internationally. This coincides with the ISW's earlier assessments indicating that China does not want the 'no-limits' partnership Russia seeks.

Ukraine war latest: Counteroffensive is ‘challenging,’ says Zelensky as Western pressure mounts
Key developments on Aug. 8: * Russian Aug. 7 attack on Pokrovsk kills 9, injures 82 * Ukrainian forces hold initiative as counteroffensive underway, says Zelensky * Ukraine repels Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast * UK imposes biggest sanctions against companies helping Russia’s military effort…

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