UKRAINE: In a significant strategic loss for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia has ordered a pullback from the crucial southern city of Kherson, the only regional capital it has secured since the invasion in February.
Russian forces in the Kherson region will leave the west bank of the Dnipro river, which includes the city, due to Ukrainian advances in the area, Russian official media said on Wednesday.
As Ukrainian soldiers approach the city from two angles, the order was given during a conference in Moscow between Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the head of Russian forces in Ukraine.
The Russians had a harder time defending their acquired territory on the west side of the city as Ukrainian forces destroyed bridges over the Dnipro and targeted Russian supply lines.
One of the four Ukrainian regions that Russia illegally annexed in September was Kherson. Several thousand square kilometers of that annexation will have been ceded by the time the withdrawal is finished.
According to NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, who spoke to the media on Wednesday, the retreat “demonstrates the courage, dedication, and commitment of Ukrainian armed forces, as well as the importance of the West’s continuous assistance.”
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Surovikin, “Kherson and nearby communities cannot be adequately supplied and function in the existing conditions.”
The operation’s overall commander, Surovikin, had previously forewarned that tough choices would have to be made. He claimed that the Russian Federation’s armed forces “successfully withstood the attempts of the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in direction of Kherson.”
He stated that the number was seven to eight times higher than Russian losses and that “from August to October Armed Forces of Ukraine lost more than 9,500 people in Kherson.” The claim made by Surovikin cannot be independently confirmed.
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