Russia's newly-formed 104th Guards Airborne Division likely suffered "exceptionally heavy losses" during its combat debut near Kherson Oblast's village of Krynky, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its Dec. 14 report.
In recent months, Ukrainian forces have reportedly made headway into occupied Kherson Oblast east of the Dnipro River. Krynky, a settlement some 35 kilometers east of Kherson, is said to be one of the main flashpoints in this sector of the front.
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the airborne formation joined Russia's Dnipro Group of Forces in an attempt to dislodge Ukrainian troops near the Krynky bridgehead.
During battles in early December, the unit reportedly suffered a high casualty rate and failed to achieve its objectives. British analysts linked this failure to a lack of proper artillery and air support, as well as insufficient experience of the troops.
Following the battle, Russian military bloggers called for the resignation of Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, the commander of the Dnipro Group of Forces.
Teplinsky, who also commands Russia's airborne troops, is considered among the more capable Russian commanders in the full-scale war against Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry noted.
Ukraine has been conducting cross-river raids into the occupied part of Kherson Oblast east of the Dnipro River since February, with more intensified attacks reported in August.
The U.K. Defense Ministry said in July that Ukrainian forces are maintaining a beachhead near the Antonivsky Bridge.
In the fall, Russian military bloggers reported that the Ukrainian military established footholds on the occupied bank, and geolocated footage from Oct. 19 confirmed Ukrainian presence in Krynky.
Ukrainian marines reported in November that battles on Dnipro River's eastern bank in Kherson Oblast cost Russia almost 3,500 soldiers, including 1,200 killed.