Putin has subordinates announce withdrawal from Cherson

Et is only a month and a half since Russia’s president celebrated the annexation of four more Ukrainian territories. Residents of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia will be “our citizens forever,” he said Wladimir Putin during the connection ceremony in the Kremlin. With the four heads of the occupiers he chanted “Rossiya”, Russia. Afterwards, at a so-called demonstration concert in Red Square, Putin promised to do “everything” to support “our brothers and sisters” in the annexed territories. “The victory will be ours!”

Even then there were doubts. The regional capital, Zaporizhia, was only accessible to Russian missiles. In the Kherson region, the Ukrainians made progress. It is now becoming apparent that Putin’s “everything” is not enough to hold the only regional capital that his invading troops have been able to recapture since the end of February. Putin left the announcement of the retreat to the southern bank of the Dnipro River to his subordinates on Wednesday.

State television showed the commander of the invading forces, Sergei Surovikin, with a report for Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu. Surovikin first reported successes, a “stabilized situation”, repelled attacks, high losses of the enemy. Only then did he describe the situation on the north bank of the Dnieper as hopeless and suggested retreating to spare the lives of the soldiers. “Agreed,” Shoygu said.

The decision is not just military tactics. “Russia is here forever,” announced Andrei Turchak, Secretary General of the powerful United Russia party, during a visit to Kherson in early May. Putin himself made it clear in June that he considers it his mission to close off Ukrainian territories like Kherson Russia “to bring back”. At the beginning of November, the exiled Russian news portal “Medusa” reported, citing those close to the Kremlin, that the surrender of Cherson was “the probable but undesirable scenario”. Ultimately, Putin must decide.

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