Russia has suffered political embarrassement with their forced withdrawal from Ukraine’s Kherson region, west of the Dnipro River.
Earlier today, the Ukrainian military took over the city unchanged, eight months after its takeover by the Russian army.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed tje withdrawal on Friday October 11, 2023, and is seen by many international observers as one of the biggest setbacks for Moscow since the start of the war.
As the Ukrainian troops entered the regional capital, residents flooded the central square, waving Ukrainian flags, according to geolocated images by CNN.
The Russians bombed the main bridge across the Dnipro River as they retreated.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov however insisted that, the Kherson region — one of four Ukrainian regions that Moscow claims to have annexed, remains part of Russia, denying that the retreat is “humiliating” for President Vladimir Putin.
Despite the significant gains, Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky cautioned that his forces are advancing carefully, amid warnings that Russian troops have mined the city and will continue to strike against it from the river’s east bank.
Russian ministry reiterates all troops and equipment were withdrawn from west bank of Kherson
From Darya Tarasova
A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry reiterated that all Russian troops have been withdrawn from the west bank of the Kherson region as of early Friday.
“All personnel, weapons and military equipment of the group have been withdrawn to the left (east) bank. In total, more than 30 thousand Russian military personnel, about 5 thousand pieces of weapons and military equipment, as well as material property were withdrawn,” according to the statement
“All Russian military equipment to be repaired was also taken to the left bank of the Dnipro,” it added, repeating that “not a single piece of military equipment or weapons have been left on the right bank.”
But social media video suggests otherwise, with Russian tanks, armored vehicles and crates of ammunition displayed by Ukrainian troops.
Ukraine also urged any Russian soldiers remaining on the west bank to surrender immediately. And officials warned some Russian troops may have remained behind in civilian clothing.
Ukraine has asserted that it carried out attacks against Russian troop concentrations that were withdrawing, but the Russian Defense Ministry said that “despite the attempts of the enemy to disrupt the transfer of Russian troops, no losses among personnel, weapons, military equipment and materiel were allowed.
“The group’s Russian air defense and electronic warfare systems repulsed all attempts to deliver missile strikes.”
The ministry also claimed that the Ukrainian advance had been held back for several days.
“Russian artillery fire, air strikes and the use of minefields stopped the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at a distance of 30-40 kilometers from the area of crossings over the (Dnipro) River,” it said.
“Currently, the accumulations of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the right bank of the (Dnipro) are being hit by fire,” the ministry said.
Ukraine has not reported any incoming fire from the east bank Friday but said a missile attack on the city of Mykolaiv, close to the border with Kherson, killed multiple people early Friday.