Ukrainian troops enter Kherson city after Russian retreat: NPR

Buildings damaged in fighting between Ukrainian and Russian occupying forces line a rural road in Kherson, Ukraine, on October 10. 30.

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Carl Court/Getty Images

Buildings damaged in fighting between Ukrainian and Russian occupying forces line a rural road in Kherson, Ukraine, on October 10. 30.

Carl Court/Getty Images

MOSCOW AND Kyiv – Ukrainian troops have moved into the southern city of Kherson after Russia confirmed its withdrawal from the strategic city, in what could be a major setback for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the remaining troops had been transferred from Kherson to the east bank of the Dnieper earlier on Friday, with “not a single piece of military equipment or weapons” remaining on the other side.

The Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Service later confirmed that Ukrainian troops had entered the city of Kherson. “Kherson is returning under Ukrainian control and Ukrainian troops are entering the city,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post.

The agency also urged Russian soldiers abandoned by the military leadership but still in Kherson to surrender – offering assurances that their rights would be protected under a program called “I Want to Live”.

“Your commander ordered you to wear civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson independently. Obviously, you will not succeed,” the Ukrainian statement said.

Since Friday morning, unverified videos and photos have surfaced online of the Ukrainian flag being captured Raised on top of Kherson City Hall and police headquarters, and elated locals in nearby villages Celebrate liberation. Several videos appeared to show Ukrainians tearing up Russian billboards that read “Russia is always here”.

Russia’s announcement of the withdrawal comes amid reports that the region’s only bridge across the Dnieper River has been destroyed. Videos shared online appear to show large sections of the bridge being completely cut. Russian and Ukrainian officials have accused each other of who is responsible for the damage.

Earlier this week, the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, General. Sergei Surovkin presented plans to withdraw troops from Kherson while reporting to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on state television.

In seemingly orchestrated remarks, Surovkin called the decision to withdraw to the east bank of the Dnieper “difficult” but would allow Russia to save the lives of military personnel and maintain Russia’s combat capability.

Shoigu agreed and gave the order.

The initial announcement attracted Suspicions of the Ukrainian governmenthas previously expressed concern that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson could be a tactic by the Kremlin to lure Ukrainian troops into the city.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that he believed it would take “at least a week” for Russian troops to leave the city and that Moscow still had about 40,000 people in the region. Soldier.

The Russian withdrawal is widely seen as a blow to Putin’s war effort in Ukraine – a view underscored by the Russian leader’s continued silence on the withdrawal.

The city is the first and only major city that Russian forces have occupied since the February invasion.

In September, Putin presided over a lavish Kremlin ceremony in which he illegally annexed the wider Kherson region and three other Ukrainian territories into the Russian Federation — lands he claimed were now “forever” in Russia.

Despite handing Kherson over to the Ukrainian army, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that Russia still maintains legal control of the territory. “There can’t be any change here,” Peskov said.

Charles Maynes reported from Moscow, and Ashley Westerman from Kyiv.

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