By ILLIA NOVIKOV
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A top Ukrainian official says its troops have established a beachhead on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River near Kherson, an important advance in overcoming one of Russia’s most significant strategic barriers in the war. The head of the president’s office provided no details but confirmed the development that had been widely discussed in military forums over the past month. The river became a natural dividing line along the southern battlefront, preventing Ukrainian troops from advancing further towards Russian-annexed Crimea. The barrier also allowed Russia to concentrate more troops in the heavily mined and fortified Zaporizhzhia region and eastern Ukraine.