Ukrainian troops have crossed the Dnipro River near Kherson

A Ukrainian soldier helps to clear land in the Kherson region, in the country's south-east, last week.(Reuters: Viacheslav Ratynskyi)

Russia has admitted that “small groups” of Ukrainian troops have crossed the Dnipro River and are holding territory in the country’s southeast near Kherson, which it has occupied since March 2022.

However, both President Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi have spoken of a difficult situation, with the president naming areas around the cities of Avdiivka, Marinka, Bakhmut, Lyman, Kupiansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, while the military chief named three – Avdiivka, Kupiansk and Marinka.

According to Litovkin, there are various factors restraining Russian forces from going on the offense, including bad weather, with particularly heavy rains rendering many roads impassable.

The development was revealed in a post on Wednesday by Vladimir Saldo, a Russian-appointed governor in the area, on encrypted messaging service Telegram.

It’s the first time a Russian official has confirmed the crossing.

Mr Saldo said “about a company and a half” of Ukraine’s soldiers were now “trapped” in the village of Krynky, and that Moscow had sent reinforcements to the front lines.

The admission comes after two state-controlled Russian news outlets — Ria Novosti and TASS — deleted reports about troops in the area being relocated earlier this week.

One quietly removed its updates, while the other said it had mistakenly published the information.

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