Kherson: Russia will withdraw forces in Ukraine war setback



CNN

In a dramatic strategic setback by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia has ordered a withdrawal from the key southern city of Kherson, the only regional capital captured since the February invasion.

Russian state media reported Wednesday that Russian troops are withdrawing from the west bank of the Dnipro River, an area that includes the city of Kherson, in the face of Ukrainian advances in the region.

The order came during a meeting in Moscow between Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Sergei Surovykin, commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces approach the city from two directions.

An old woman walks in the Kherson region Much of the Kherson region has been under Russian control since the first weeks of its occupation.

Russia’s withdrawal would represent the war’s most significant military moment since Ukrainian forces swept through northern Kharkiv in September.

However, Ukrainian officials have expressed doubts that Russian forces have completely withdrawn from the West Bank.

“Actions speak louder than words. We see no sign that Russia will leave Kherson without a fight.

Ukraine “liberates territory based on intelligence, not staged TV statements,” Podolyak added.

As Ukrainian forces disabled bridges across the Dnipro and attacked Russian supply lines, it became increasingly difficult for the Russians to defend the occupied territory on the west bank of the Kherson.

Kherson is one of four Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russia in September. Once the withdrawal is complete, thousands of square kilometers of annexed territory will be surrendered.

The withdrawal “demonstrates the courage, determination, commitment of the Ukrainian armed forces and the importance of the continued support of the West”, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Surovikin said: “Kurzon [city] Adjacent settlements cannot be fully supplied and operated in their current state.”

Surovikin claimed that Ukrainian forces are “attacking schools, hospitals and civilians in Kurzan, and moving them across the Dnipro River.”

Surovykin, who warned that difficult choices will be required when appointed overall commander of the operation, said: “The armed forces of the Russian Federation successfully resisted the attempts of the armed forces of Ukraine to attack towards Kherson. ”

He claimed that “between August and October, Ukraine’s armed forces lost more than 9,500 people in Kherson,” which he said was seven to eight times more than Russian losses. Surovikin’s claim cannot be verified.

Meanwhile, Russian reporters in the north of Kherson have described cash withdrawals from some areas.

A leading Russian Telegram channel with more than a million subscribers reported a “withdrawal of funds to back up positions” near the western bank town of Snihurivka in the neighboring Mykolayiv region.

“Our troops also blew up a bridge in this area today,” RVVoenkor channel reported.

It added: “Ukrainian sources published a photo with their flag raised at the Snihurivka train station. Settlements are under their control. ”

CNN has geolocated the photo of the flag on a tower in Snihurivka.

The channel said that the Ukrainians had entered a nearby village (Kalynivske) and that “the front lines are gradually moving towards Kherson”.

Another Russian military correspondent, Alexander Kots, said in Telegram that he decided to carry two Russian flags on the ferry departing from the city of Kherson “after receiving several urgent recommendations to go to the East Bank.” They won’t get it.”

Coates added: “One was taken from the flagpole at the town hall….I’ll keep the state flag until we come back. So I can hang it again.”

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