Ukrainian army in the center of Kherson

DAfter the Russian withdrawal, the Ukrainian army advanced into the center of the previously Russian-occupied regional capital of Cherson in the south of the country. Ukrainian media on Friday afternoon circulated video footage of Ukrainian soldiers being surrounded by cheering civilians in front of the regional administration building. They waved Ukrainian flags and celebrated the liberation army with chants.

Already on Friday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the withdrawal to the left bank of the Dnipro River. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu had already announced the withdrawal from the only previously occupied Ukrainian regional capital on Wednesday. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the withdrawal was completed in the early hours of the morning to take up positions on the opposite side of the Dnieper.

Russia does not want any device left behind

Video footage showing the completely destroyed Antonivka Bridge then circulated on social media. In the Ukrainian media, a detonation by the withdrawing Russian troops was suspected. The wide river now forms a natural barrier, making it difficult for the Ukrainian army to advance.

The Russian Defense Ministry said no Russian soldier or military vehicle was left on the right bank of the river. Photos circulating on social media purportedly showing abandoned Russian soldiers trying to flee in civilian clothes.

The Ukrainian military intelligence service GUR published a text on Telegram aimed at abandoned Russian military personnel, urging them to surrender. The GUR promised treatment in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and held out the prospect of an exchange for Ukrainian prisoners of war. An exchange of prisoners between the warring parties apparently also took place on Friday. The Ukrainian President’s Chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak, announced on Twitter the successful homecoming of 45 Ukrainian soldiers.

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