Ukraine: Why the battle for the Kherson Islands is so strategically important

Watch: The battle for Kherson Islands explained.

Since Kherson has returned to Ukrainian control there have been ongoing battles over the islands along the Dnipro River in Ukraine.

Forces News spoke with Daily Telegraph correspondent Colin Freeman who discussed why Kherson Islands are so strategically important in this war.

The Dnipro is a very wide river with a lot of islands and, Mr Freeman says: "Whoever controls those islands, can effectively control the traffic up and down the river Dnipro, which is the main river that feeds Kyiv and effectively splits Ukraine into east and west."

Speaking in terms of its importance, he said "it's not unlike being able to control the Thames in the UK".

The correspondent went on to say that small groups of Ukrainian soldiers are being dropped off on these islands by boat and their job is to hold the islands, to stop them from coming back under Russian control.

In a "fairly challenging soldiering experience", the Ukrainian soldiers deployed there are relying on buildings for cover and are under constant and intense artillery bombardment from Russian forces – "sometimes up to 100 times a day" – during the ongoing battle to keep control of the islands.

News of the "tough soldiering" in the fight to protect the islands comes as Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron agree on working more closely on training Ukrainian marines and supplying weapons to Kyiv.

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