Russia says it has completed its withdrawal from Kherson to Ukraine

Russia said It had completed its withdrawal of forces from the southern city of Kherson on Friday, two days after Moscow said it had made the “difficult decision” to withdraw amid Ukrainian advances.

“Today at 5 a.m. Moscow time, the transfer of Russian troops to the left bank of the Dnipro was completed,” the Russian Defense Ministry said. said in a statement on Telegram.

“There was no loss of military personnel, weapons and equipment,” the ministry said, adding that civilians “were assisted during the evacuation.”

Following the withdrawal, the Kremlin declared the city of Kherson still part of Russia, as Moscow claimed to have annexed the Kherson region in September.

“This is a subject of the Russian Federation. There is no change in it and it cannot be changed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russia announced on Wednesday it was withdrawing its forces from Kherson due to its inability to supply Russian forces there, abandoning the only Ukrainian regional capital it captured during its nearly nine-month invasion.

The decision to retreat to the left bank of the Dnipro came after months of intense fighting in the region, with Ukrainian troops making further gains. against a large Russian force.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday Kyiv forces had recaptured more than 40 towns and villages in southern Ukraine as Russia retreated.

Moscow declared its annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions – Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk – after holding widely contested referendums in each region.

The annexation was rejected by Kyiv and widely condemned by Western countries.

AFP contributed reporting.

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