Russia orders withdrawal of troops from Cherson

Destroyed Russian military vehicle

The Russians suffered heavy defeats in the battle for the region.

(Photo: dpa)

Moscow Under pressure from Ukrainian counter-offensives, Russian troops are withdrawing from a strategically important part of the annexed southern Cherson region. This was announced by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday, indicating one of the heaviest defeats by the Russian armed forces in the war of aggression to date. The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces in the UkraineGeneral Sergei Surovikin, justified the step by saying that Cherson could no longer be supplied with supplies.

“We will ensure the lives of our soldiers and the combat effectiveness of our units,” Surovikin said in a televised speech. It is now intended that the armed forces should concentrate on holding the east bank of the Dnieper.

There is a risk that the area on the west bank will be flooded and that the Russian troops will be surrounded there.

So far, around 115,000 people have left the region. It is impossible to continue supplying the city of Cherson. Ukrainian troops have been able to advance steadily in the region in recent weeks.

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One of the main bridges, which leads from Cherson over a branch of the Dnipro River, was apparently blown up beforehand, as pictures published on the Internet showed on Wednesday. Reuters was able to verify the location of the footage but could not independently determine why the bridge collapsed. There was speculation on the Ukrainian side that Russian troops blew up the structure in preparation for their withdrawal from the city of Kherson.

Sergei Shoigu

The announcement by the Russian defense minister shows the difficult situation facing his army.

(Photo: dpa)

At the same time, Russian news agencies reported the death of Kirill Stremousov, who was appointed deputy head of the region by the Moscow government in Kherson. The cause of death was a car accident, the reports said. No further information was given about the circumstances.

Ukraine reacted cautiously to the announcement

Stremousov, one of the most prominent figures of the occupiers in the region, had recently indicated several times that Russia could withdraw its troops from the area around the west bank of the Dnipro. The Cherson region is one of four regions in Ukraine that has now been annexed by the government in Moscow and declared Russian territory.

Ukraine has reacted cautiously to Russia’s announcement that it would withdraw its troops from the city of Kherson in the south of the country. It is too early to speak of a withdrawal, says presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak of the Reuters news agency.

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A few Russian troops remained in the city, and additional forces were also ordered to the region. The announcements from Moscow and the actions on the ground are sometimes very different. As long as the Ukrainian flag does not fly over Cherson, there can be no talk of a Russian withdrawal. The Ukrainian armed forces adhered to the policy of focusing on reconnaissance, risk assessment and effective counterattacks.

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