Russia fears in winter: Frozen river could give Ukraine a decisive advantage
Created: 10/01/2023 14:53
By: Stephanie Munk
Putin uses the winter in the Ukraine war as a weapon, but Ukraine can also use it for itself.
The freezing of the Dnipro River could be a great benefit.
Zaporizhia - As hard as the winter is for the soldiers and population in the Ukraine war, it can also be an advantage for military maneuvers.
Because: Crossing waters is often a big problem for troops at the front, which frozen waters can temporarily solve.
In the case of the Dnipro - Ukraine's largest river and the fourth longest in Europe - this could now be the case.
Near the front line of Zaporizhia, the river's water could soon turn into a sheet of ice, according to a report by the Russian news agency
Ukraine could use this to advance further - which is why a senior Russian official now specifically warned against such a maneuver on Monday (9 January 2022).
Ukraine-News: Russian occupation chief warns of maneuvers by Ukraine
According to the
news agency , the head of the Russian occupation in the Zaporizhia region, Vladimir Rogov, was alarmed on Russian TV about a possible Ukrainian coup.
"We can see that there are more ways to cross the Dnieper," Rogov is quoted as saying.
Russia must be prepared for this.
A Ukrainian soldier stands on the banks of the Dnipro River near Kherson in late November 2022.
© Sadak Souici/Imago
Dnipro could freeze over soon: did Ukraine manipulate floodgates for counter-offensive?
The fact that the Dnipro in the area around Zaporizhia may soon freeze over is said to be no coincidence – and it probably has nothing to do exclusively with the frost.
Crew chief Rogov claimed, according to
, that Ukraine deliberately manipulated the river's water level to cause the river level to drop.
According to Rogov, Ukraine has closed some hydraulic locks at hydroelectric power plants upstream of the Dnipro, interrupting the natural flow of water.
Dnipro forms obstacle between troops of Ukraine and Russia
Since the Ukrainian army successfully recaptured the city of Cherson in November and the Russians had to retreat to the east bank of the Dnipro, the river, which is up to 15 kilometers wide, has formed a natural obstacle between the opposing armies.
The Ukrainian soldiers positioned themselves on the west bank, the Russian ones on the east bank.
However, should the river freeze over, Ukraine could actually launch a new offensive attempt in the Zaporizhia region, ex-Ukrainian commander and current politician Roman Kostenko told the US news portal
The Ukrainians could cross the river and use this as a base to advance south along the eastern bank of the Dnipro.
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Winter heralded a new phase in the Ukraine war
Overall, winter ushered in a new phase in the Ukraine war and could have a massive impact on events at the front for other reasons, as an analysis by IPPEN.MEDIA shows.
The US experts at the Institute for the Study on War (ISW) see Ukraine at an advantage, as they wrote in an assessment in December: Ukrainian troops are "probably preparing to take advantage of the frozen area, to be able to move about more easily than was possible in the muddy autumn months".
Russia, on the other hand, will probably want to bridge the winter to prepare for an offensive in the spring.
Destroyed Russian military vehicles were covered with snow.
The winter makes the conditions in the Ukraine war more difficult.
(Archive image) © Ashley Chan/imago
However, Ukraine is currently suffering heavy losses: On Tuesday (January 10) Russia apparently gained control of the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, and the recently recaptured town of Bakhmut could soon fall back into the hands of the Russian army.