Over 70,000 Russian personnel are currently stationed on the east bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, Nataliia Humeniuk, a spokesperson of Ukraine's Southern Operational Command, said on national television on Feb. 2.
After a series of military operations on Kherson Oblast’s east bank, held by Russian troops since the start of the full-scale invasion, Ukrainian forces have established footholds in the area, continuing to repel Russian attacks despite logistical challenges.
Not all of the 70,000 Russian soldiers and military equipment are deployed directly on the front line, according to Humeniuk, who said that some personnel are stationed in deeper rear, from where Russia pulls them up as an additional resource.
Russia’s Dnepr Grouping of Forces fighting on the east bank "constantly changes" its number and composition due to high losses, Humeniuk said. In every ground attack on Ukrainian forces, each assault group in the area loses up to 70% of their personnel, she explained.
Russia's newly-formed 104th Guards Airborne Division has likely suffered "exceptionally heavy losses" near Krynky, one of the main flashpoints in this sector, the U.K. Defense Ministry said on Dec. 14, 2023. A month later, the ministry cited a Russian military blogger estimating that Russia had lost 90% of its military equipment near Krynky.
The situation on the east bank remains difficult for Ukrainian troops as well, in particular, because of the fluctuating dynamics of Russian assaults, which complicates combat planning, according to Humeniuk. Russian forces attempted 13 assaults in the sector over the past day, compared to three attacks on Jan. 31, she said.
Ukraine has been conducting cross-river raids into the occupied part of Kherson Oblast east of the Dnipro River since February last year, with more intensified attacks reported in August.
Poor training and coordination of Russian troops stationed on the east bank likely prevent them from dislodging Ukrainian forces from the area, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Jan. 20.