Kiev: The Kremlin has announced a retreat of Russian forces from the strategically important city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, a concession to military reality eight months after capturing the area, and one of the most significant reversals of President Vladimir Putin’s war effort.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered his troops to withdraw from the occupied Ukrainian City of Kherson and take up defensive lines on the opposite bank of the River Dnipro, the New York Times reported.
In televised comments, General Sergei Surovikin, in overall command of the war, said it was no longer possible to keep Kherson City supplied.
“We will save the lives of our soldiers and fighting capacity of our units. Keeping them on the right (western) bank is futile. Some of them can be used on other fronts,” Surovikin said.
The news followed weeks of Ukrainian advances towards the city and a race by Russia to relocate tens of thousands of its residents, the New York Times reported.
Shoigu responded: “I agree with your conclusions and proposals. Proceed with the withdrawal of troops and take all measures to transfer forces across the river.”
The announcement had been anticipated by Russia’s influential war bloggers, who described it as a bitter blow.