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Russia claims all soldiers left Kherson amid Ukrainian counteroffensive – state run

Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday it had completed the withdrawal of troops from the west bank of the river that separates Ukraine’s South Kherson region, including the only provincial capital occupied by Moscow since Russia invaded a neighboring country.

In a statement provided by Russia’s state-run news agency, the ministry said the withdrawal was completed at 5am on Friday and not a single military equipment was left behind. That said, the withdrawal marks another major setback for Russia in her eight-and-a-half-month-long war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin remained defiant on Friday, insisting the development would in no way embarrass Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow continues to consider the entire Kherson region part of Russia.

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Russian withdrawal from Kherson will take days, Kyiv says, Ukraine retakes town

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He added that the Kremlin does not regret holding festivities more than a month ago to celebrate the illegal annexation of Kherson and three other occupied or partially occupied territories of Ukraine.

Shortly before Russia’s announcement, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation in the Kherson region as “difficult.” It reported Russian shelling of some of the villages and towns Ukrainian forces had recaptured in recent weeks during counterattacks in the Kherson area.

Ukrainian officials were wary of the Russian withdrawal announced this week, fearing that their soldiers would be caught in an ambush in the city of Kherson, which had a pre-war population of 280,000. Military analysts also predicted that it would take at least a week for Russian forces to complete the withdrawal of troops.

Mikhail Podlyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said on Thursday that retreating Russian troops had mined the entirety of Kherson, turning it into a “city of death.” He also predicted that they would shell the city after moving across the Dnieper.

Click to play video: 'Biden says 'we don't know yet' if Ukraine will compromise with Russia when withdrawing from Kherson'

Biden says ‘we don’t know yet’ if Ukraine will compromise with Russia in pulling out of Kherson

Having previously warned that the Russian withdrawal might be a trap, some in the Ukrainian government barely hid their glee at the pace of the withdrawal.

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“Russian forces leave the battlefield in triathlon mode, including steeplechase, long jump and swim,” tweeted Senior Presidential Advisor Andriy Yermak. A social media video, believed to have been filmed by soldiers en route to Kherson, showed villagers hugging Ukrainian soldiers.

Recapturing the city would give Ukraine a strong position to extend its southern counteroffensive to other Russian-occupied territories, possibly including Crimea, which was occupied by Moscow in 2014.

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Ukrainian officials cautious as Russia announces withdrawal from Kherson

But the Kremlin, from its new positions on the East Bank, could try to escalate the war, which U.S. estimates have already killed or wounded tens of thousands of civilians and hundreds of thousands of soldiers. have a nature

A Russian S-300 missile strike killed six people in Mykolaiv, about 68 kilometers (42 miles) from the capital of Kherson, Zelensky’s office said Friday morning. Rescuers sifted through the rubble of the five-story house looking for survivors.

Sixteen-year-old Roman Mamontov was standing in front of the apartment where his family once lived, waiting for news of his missing mother.

“There was nothing there,” Mamontov said when he opened the apartment door to look for his mother after the missile hit. Friday was her 34th birthday.

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“At that moment, my mind went blank. I thought it was impossible,” he said. “The cake she prepared for the celebration is still there.”

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NATO Secretary General reacts to news of Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson

Zelensky called the missile strike “a cynical reaction of a terrorist state to our success on the front lines.”

“Russia will not give up its cowardly tactics. And we will not give up the fight. The occupiers will be held accountable for all their crimes against Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Zelensky said.

At least 14 civilians were killed between Thursday morning and Friday morning in attacks by Russian drones, rockets and artillery on eight areas, the president’s office said.

In the Dnipropetrovsk region, more than 50 rockets were fired overnight around cities and towns across the Dnieper from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. According to Governor Valentin Reznichenko.

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The status of the main Antonivsky Bridge, which connects the west and east banks of the Dnieper in the Kherson region, remained unclear on Friday and could be key in determining whether the Russians have in fact all left the city of Kherson. I have.

Russian media reports suggested the bridge was blown up after the Russian withdrawal. A pro-Kremlin reporter posted a video with parts of the bridge missing. However, Sergey Eliseev, an official with Russians stationed in the Kherson region, told Interfax news agency that “the Antonivsky bridge was not blown up and is in the same condition.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Russia claims all soldiers left Kherson amid Ukrainian counteroffensive – state run

Source link Russia claims all soldiers left Kherson amid Ukrainian counteroffensive – state run

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