Russia's withdrawal in Kherson: Ukraine reacted skeptically to Moscow's announcement

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“We see no signs that Russia is going to walk away without a fight,” warned Mikhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office

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Russian withdrawal in Kherson: Ukraine reacted skeptically to Moscow announcement

Ukrainian military prepare a 2S7 Pion self-propelled gun to fire on a position, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, on a front in the Kherson region (REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi)

The Ukrainian government reacted skeptically on Wednesday to the Russian Army's announcement that it would withdraw from the annexed city of Kherson.

“Actions speak louder than words. We see no signs that Russia will leave Kherson without a fight,” Mikhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukraine's presidential office, wrote on his Twitter account.

< p class="paragraph">“Until the Ukrainian flag flies over Kherson, there is no point in talking about a Russian withdrawal,” he added in statements to the Reuters agency.

The senior official said that there are still Russian troops in the southern Ukrainian city – the only regional capital taken by Russia since the beginning of the invasion – and that additional reserves are being redirected to the region.

“Ukraine liberates territories based on data from its intelligence services and not on staged statements on television,” he said, referring to the withdrawal order issued by the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu.< /b>

General Serguei Surovikin, in command of the Russian troops in Ukraine, had admitted that the defense of Kherson and its outskirts on the right bank of the Dnieper River is already “unfeasible ”.

Russian withdrawal in Kherson: Ukraine reacted skeptically to Moscow announcement

Mijailo Podolyak, adviser to the presidential office of Ukraine

Russia annexed the Kherson region on September 30, as well as those of Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporizhia, to despite not controlling it in its entirety.

Russia announced on Wednesday its withdrawal from the city, the only regional capital under its control in the entire country, as well as the withdrawal of the northern third of that province, which is a severe setback for President Vladimir Putin, which annexed that territory a little over a month ago.

“Proceed to withdraw the forces and adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the safe transfer of the troops, weapons and equipment across the Dnieper River,” Shoigu ordered Surovikin, head of the group of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

The Russian withdrawal from the northern third of the southern region was an open secret, since there had been talk for days that the Russian flag was no longer flying on the administrative buildings of its capital and weeks since the pro-Russian authorities had proceeded to evacuate of the civilian population to the left bank of the Dnieper.

The Russian withdrawal is a great victory for Ukraine, since it will now be able to liberate new territories in the south of the country bordering the Crimean peninsula before the arrival of the harsh winter, when low temperatures are expected to make progress difficult.

In principle, the Russian troops would abandon some 3,800 square kilometers, which should be added to the almost 3,000 square kilometers that the Ukrainians already control in Kherson, 10% of the area of ​​the entire province.

Shoigu, who was accompanied by the Russian Army staff, approved the withdrawal after Surovikin admitted in his report that the defense of the city and its surroundings on the right bank of the Dnieper is “unfeasible”.

Russian withdrawal in Kherson: Ukraine reacted skeptically to Moscow announcement

The withdrawal from Kherson is a severe setback for Vladimir Putin (Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Pool via REUTERS)

“After assessing the created situation, we propose to move the defense to the left bank of the Dnieper River. I understand that it is not an easy decision,” said the general with a serious face, showing a map of operations.

He stressed that under current conditions it is not possible to supply the Russian military contingent deployed in the area, as a possible Ukrainian missile attack on the New Kakhovka reservoir would flood much of Kherson territory.

Putin appointed Surovikin a month ago in order to stop the bleeding of territories in the south and east of Ukraine since the end of August, when the Ukrainian counteroffensive began to bear fruit.

On the other hand, neither the arrival of 50,000 mobilized and volunteers at the front has offset the shortage of men. In fact, the pro-Russian authorities admitted this week that Ukraine has “numerical superiority” in Kherson.

(With information from EFE and Reuters)

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