Russian army starts retreating across the Dnieper River from Kherson

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Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, on Wednesday ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson on the left bank of the Dnieper River, TASS and other Russian press agencies announced.

“Start with the withdrawal of troops and take all measures to ensure the safe transfer of personnel, weapons and equipment across the Dnieper River,” Shoigu ordered Sergei Surovikin, the commander of the Russian invasion forces, who proposed the move.

“After a comprehensive assessment of the current situation, it is proposed to occupy some defensive positions along the left bank of the Dnieper River. I understand that this is a very difficult decision,” Surovkin told the Russian Defense Minister, according to Interfax.

The general also told Shoigu that if Kiev were to attack the Hahovka dam, this would lead to the formation of a water flow that would create extensive flood zones and lead to significant civilian casualties.

“There will be an additional threat to the civilian population and the complete isolation of our troop group from the right bank of the Dnieper. Under these conditions, the most appropriate option is to organize the defense along the barrier line of the Dnieper River”, Surovikin also reported.

“We will save, most importantly, the lives of our servicemen and, in general, the combat capability of the troop group, which is useless to be kept on the right bank in a limited area. In addition, part of the forces and means that will be released will be used for active operations, including offensives in other directions in the area of ​​operation,” he added.

Journalists from the independent Russian website Meduza reported a day ago, citing sources close to the Kremlin, that saving the lives of Russian civilians and military personnel would be cited as one of the reasons why the withdrawal was ordered, and that these indications were already passed on to propagandists in Moscow.

The capital of Kherson province was the only large Ukrainian city that Russian troops managed to occupy after launching the invasion of Ukraine in February. In September, the Ukrainian army launched a counter-offensive in Kherson, through which it first tries to cut the communications of the Russian troops that have crossed the Dnieper.

Ukrainian troops have already destroyed the bridges over the Dnieper, forcing the Russians to resort to pontoons and other improvisations to supply their soldiers. Before the withdrawal, the Russians evacuated tens of thousands of civilians from the city and destroyed bridges over the occupied parts of Kherson region west of the Dnieper River.

“The occupiers blew up not only the Dariivski and Tiahinski bridges, but they also blew up the bridge at the exit from Snihurivka to Kherson across the channel,” a Ukrainian official said Wednesday, as quoted by CNN.

Sergei Khlan said Russian forces were withdrawing “en masse” from front-line villages along the west bank of the Dnipro River. He said that while it is not yet possible to officially say that Russia has abandoned the settlements, Russian forces are no longer present in several localities.

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