Russia to withdraw troops from key Ukrainian city


Russia’s military has been ordered to pull out of the Ukrainian city of Kherson, the only regional capital it captured after invading in February.

Russia’s commander in Ukraine, Gen Sergei Surovikin, said it was no longer possible to keep supplying the city, the BBC reported.

Russian forces will pull out entirely from the western bank of the River Dnipro, which is a significant setback as Russia faces a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Gen Surovikin  announced the  decision on Russian state TV. President Vladimir Putin did not take part in the staged event, leaving the announcement to his generals.

Mr Putin announced Russia’s annexation of Kherson, and three other occupied regions, at the end of September.

„In these circumstances, the most sensible option is to organize the defense along a barrier line along the river Dnipro,” Gen Surovikin told the meeting.

Mr  Putin celebrated his annexation of occupied regions but his forces were already under pressure in Kherson.

In early March, Russian forces swept across southern Ukraine from annexed Crimea at the start of the invasion and seized Kherson city.

Their decision to pull back across the Dnipro river was treated with caution by Ukrainian  authorities.

„We see no signs that Russia is leaving Kherson without a fight… (Ukraine) is liberating territories based on intelligence data, not staged TV statements.”

Retreating Russian forces will most likely have left behind mines and booby traps for the advancing Ukrainians.

Seen as one of the main cheerleaders of the occupation of Kherson, he had warned only six days ago that it was „most likely” that Russian forces would have to cross to the eastern bank.

Although the Ukrainian advance had slowed in recent weeks, Russia’s supply lines across the Dnipro had become increasingly difficult after the few bridges across were destroyed by Ukrainian missiles.


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