Russian plan to establish Dnipro River Flotilla: UK intelligence analysis

Ukrainian fighters on the bridgehead on the left bank of Kherson Oblast
Ukrainian fighters on the bridgehead on the left bank of Kherson Oblast
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The UK intelligence has analyzed Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s statement regarding the creation of the Dnipro River Flotilla and a boat brigade responsible for securing the Dnipro waterways and islands that separate the shores of Kherson Oblast, the UK Defense Ministry said on X on March 27.

Read also: Russian DM Shoigu lies to Putin that Russia has re-established control of left bank of Dnipro River

The Dnipro Flotilla may be subordinated to the Dnipro Group of Forces, which combined the Zaporizhzhya and Dnipro Groups of Forces in February 2024, intelligence analysts said.

Russia likely aims to prevent and deny Ukrainian cross-river operations, such as the operation to establish and maintain a bridgehead in Krynky, Kherson Oblast, the report said.

This formation will likely separate river patrolling functions from the Russian Black Sea Fleet, while the Black Sea Fleet operates in the eastern part of the Black Sea.

The Dnipro Flotilla is expected to be vulnerable to Ukrainian surface drones, which have been effectively destroying Russian vessels operating in the Black Sea.

The Dnipro River Flotilla: what is known

Shoigu announced on March 20 that Russia formed the Dnipro River Flotilla, an army corps, a motorized rifle division, and a boat brigade for the flotilla. The strength and level of equipment of these units are currently unknown.

Shoigu also outlined plans to form two new armies, including 14 divisions and 16 brigades.

The U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that the Russian military command may intend to use the Dnipro River Flotilla to support raids across the river and attempts to land on the Ukrainian-controlled western (right) bank of Kherson Oblast.

Read also: Oil products leak into Dnipro River after Russian attack on HPP dam

ISW considers it unlikely that the Dnipro River Flotilla has sufficient soldiers and equipment for the Russians to establish themselves on the right bank of Kherson Oblast or to threaten the Oblast with reoccupation.

The presence of a new Russian formation in this area may force Ukraine to redirect some troops and scarce equipment to a front that has been relatively inactive since November 2022, ISW said. The deployment of the Dnipro River Flotilla could force the Ukrainian command to make difficult decisions about resource allocation as the Ukrainian Armed Forces are limited in supplies of artillery ammunition and other vital military equipment.

Krynky foothold

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An advance to the village of Krynky was reported by analysts on Oct. 20 with the following probable bridgehead expansion resulting in cutting off an important way from Nova Kakhovka to Oleshky on Nov. 10.

Shoigu reported in February to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on the "clearing" of the village of Krynky on the left bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukraine’s Southern Defense Forces denied such statements by Russia’s top military leadership. Ukrainian servicemen continue to hold their positions close to the village and inflict significant losses on the Russian invaders, they assured.

Russia continues ‘human wave’ assaults in Krynky, without the protection of armored vehicles, Ukraine’s Operational Command South spokesperson, Natalia Humeniuk, said on Feb. 28.

Russian troops managed to carry out only one assault over the past day since they "did not gather more enthusiasts who are ready to go and not return," she said.

There is not a single non-damaged building left in Krynky, Kherson Oblast, and there is constant fighting there, Humeniuk said on Jan. 15.

The Russians have concentrated their troops near Krynky and are trying to knock Ukraine’s forces from there, she said.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine