Ukraine liberates Kherson in another stunning defeat for Russia – POLITICO

Ukrainian troops Between the city of Kherson on Friday, hosted by crowds ecstatic residents waving blue and yellow flags and singing the national anthem, as Russian occupation troops retreated to the east bank of the Dnipro River.

The Russian retreat is a huge setback to Moscow’s dream of seizing the port of Odessa and cutting Ukraine off from the Black Sea. Now Russian troops are setting up a new defensive position and waiting for another Ukrainian strike.

The overthrow represents the biggest defeat for the Russian invaders since they were pushed back from the capital Kyiv in April and marks another blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war aims.

The Russian Defense Ministry said troops were withdrawn from Kherson and other territories on the west bank of the river at 5 a.m. Moscow time.

“Not a single unit of military equipment and weapons was left on the right bank. All Russian servicemen passed to the left bank of the Dnipro River,” the statement read. “Military formations and units of the Russian armed forces occupied defensive lines and positions [on the right bank].”

Ukrainian military intelligence confirmed that Ukrainian units are “entering the city”.

“The retreat routes of the Russian occupiers are under the control of the fire of the Ukrainian army. Any attempt to counter… will be suppressed,” the Ukrainian statement said. “Every Russian soldier who resists will be killed. Your only chance to avoid death is to surrender immediately.

According to military intelligence, after the main group of Russian soldiers withdrew from Kherson, Russian commanders “abandoned” the others and urged them to change into civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson “by themselves- same”.

“There are few prisoners, mostly lost,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Earlier in the morning, a Russian war correspondent published pictures showing that the Antonovsky Bridge over the Dnipro had been destroyed by retreating Russian forces. A second bridge over the Dnipro – near the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant – also exploded, part of a Russian effort to prevent the Ukrainian army from crossing to the other side of the river in pursuit.

The bridges had already been badly damaged in previous months by Ukrainian strikes with American-made HIMARS rocket systems.

“The Antonovsky Bridge is no longer there… The Kahkhov Dam is impassable for vehicles,” Arestovych said.

The withdrawal was announced on Wednesday by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Putin has been remarkably quiet about the debacle.

Kherson, a city of around 300,000, was seized days after the February 24 Russian invasion, the only provincial capital to fall under its control. Putin illegally annexed Kherson and three other regions in late September, declaring they would remain Russian forever.

But the Ukrainian army, equipped with Western artillery and rockets, has spent months pounding Russian positions and destroying bridges over the wide Dnipro River, making it increasingly difficult to supply the thousands of Russians on the side. west of the river.

Former President Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his social media page without naming Kherson that “the concept of territorial sovereignty in our country has not disappeared.”

“Everything will come home. To the Russian Federation,” added Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.


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