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Ukraine has "almost certainly" restarted deploying personnel to the east bank of the Dnipro River since around June 23 in what could be preparations for an offensive near the ruined Kakhovka Dam, the U.K. Defense Ministry said on July 1.
Fighting has intensified on the Dnipro River's east bank, controlled by Russian forces, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry. Russia also appears to be deploying forces to the area near Kakhovka to bolster its defense in the southern sector, it added.
The intelligence report comes nearly a month after Russia destroyed the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant and the dam on June 6, unleashing major floods and causing an environmental disaster in the south of Ukraine.
"Combat around the bridge head is almost certainly complicated by the flooding, destruction and residual mud from the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam on June 6, 2023," the report says.
Ukraine liberated the west bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast during the fall counteroffensive, including the regional capital Kherson, but the east bank remains under Russian control.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a D.C.-based think-tank analyzing the war in Ukraine, reported for the first time in April 2023 that it observed reliable geolocated footage of Ukrainian positions on the east bank, indicating a Ukrainian presence in some small areas there then.
As of now, Ukraine is launching a much-anticipated counteroffensive in three axes – in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, in the southern areas of Donetsk Oblast, and near Bakhmut.