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

Ukrainian forces have recaptured dozens of mine-strewn settlements abandoned by Russian forces in southern Ukraine, a day after Moscow announced its withdrawal from the strategic capital Kherson province, officials said.

Ukrainian military analysts and media commentators said Thursday night there were signs that Ukrainian forces were approaching the port city of Kherson at the mouth of the Dnipro River.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that it would take at least a week for Russia to withdraw from the city of Kherson. Reznikov said Russia still had his 40,000 troops in the area, and intelligence agencies indicated Russian troops remained in and around the city.

Russia announced on Wednesday that it would withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River, including Kherson.

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Ukrainian officials cautious as Russia announces withdrawal from Kherson

It will be the third time that small Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian forces that were prevented from taking the capital Kyiv in the north in March. And in September, Ukrainian forces drove Russian occupation forces out of northeast Kharkov.

Kherson province is one of four provinces that Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed in late September, annexed by most countries as illegal.

The city of Kherson was within range of Ukrainian artillery and the nearest Ukrainian reconnaissance patrol was less than 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the city, Ukrainian military analyst Yuri Butusov told Telegram’s messaging app. .

“Ukrainian troops are riding on the shoulders of the retreating enemy and trying to break into Kherson,” he said. “In the river crossing areas where Russian troops are concentrated, firefights have broken out.”

Reuters was unable to confirm the battlefield report.

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

Ukrainian forces advanced in the south and liberated 41 settlements, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address Thursday night.

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Engineers and pyrotechnicians were going to areas recaptured from Russian forces to remove thousands of unexploded mines and weapons they had left behind, he said.

About 170,000 square kilometers (66,000 square miles) have been targeted for demining, Zelensky said, including areas where fighting is still going on and “where the enemy has withdrawn, as in the case of Kherson.” It also includes places where we plan to add mines before.

The region’s Ukrainian-appointed governor, Yaroslav Yanushevich, told Telegram that Russian forces “wanted to rob public utilities, damage power lines and lay traps behind them.”

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Kherson’s loss will be viewed “negatively within Russia.” Why is it so important?

Zelensky’s adviser, Mikhaylo Podoljak, says Russia wants to turn Kherson into a “city of death”, planning to mine everything from apartments to sewers and bombard the city from the other side of the river. said there is.

Although Russia denies intentionally targeting civilians, the conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and shattered Ukrainian towns and cities.

“There are absolutely no signs that a trap is being set in Kherson,” Kherson commentator Volodymyr Molchanov told the Ukrainian state-run Espresso TV website. “Russian forces began their move yesterday (Wednesday)…the enemy suffered heavy casualties as they tried to cross the Dnipro.”

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A withdrawal at Kherson would free up both sides’ forces to fight elsewhere, according to military analysts, and what Moscow calls a “special military operation” against its pro-Western neighbors. There was no sign of it ending.

“This is definitely a turning point, but it doesn’t mean Russia lost or Ukraine won,” said Ben Barry, a senior land warfare researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Click to play video: 'Russia attack on Ukrainian power grid leaves millions out of heat as winter approaches'

Russian attack on Ukrainian power grid leaves millions out of heat as winter approaches

He said Russia could still launch new attacks and counterattacks. “It’s too early to write them off.”

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Ukrainian state television reported that in the center of the village of Sniflivka, about 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of the city of Kherson, a small group of Ukrainian soldiers jubilantly waved Ukrainian flags over the square behind them. The scene of being welcomed by the residents was shown. Reuters confirmed the location of the video.

In a dilapidated front-line village reached by Reuters in an area already occupied by Ukrainian forces a few kilometers away, the guns are silenced as residents say it was the first quiet night since the war began. Was.

“I hope the silence means the Russians are leaving,” said Nadia Nizarenko, 85. The Russians may be setting up a trap.

(Reported by Reuters; Written by Grant McCool; Edited by Cynthia Osterman)

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

Source link Russian withdrawal from Kherson will take days, Kyiv says as Ukraine retakes town – National

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