Retreat from Kherson is reputational blow for Russia and its troops – UK Intelligence
Evacuation had probably been going on for a few weeks, UK intelligence says (Photo:REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)
Russia’s hasty withdrawal from right-bank Kherson Oblast demonstrates the problems the Russian army faced on the western bank of the Dnipro river, the UK Defence Intelligence Departments said in its report on the situation in Ukraine on Nov. 12.
“Kherson was the only capital city captured since February by Russian forces, so the withdrawal brings significant reputational damage...” the UK department said.
“It's likely that Russia is still attempting to evacuate forces from other areas of the oblast across the river to defensible positions on the east bank," the update reads.
It's possible that the evacuation of the Russian army and about 80,000 civilians lasted several weeks before the official order to retreat was issued.
"The completion of the withdrawal came only two days after its announcement. It is likely that withdrawal process had already started as early as 22 October 2022, when Russian-installed figures in Kherson urged civilians to leave the city," the intelligence department speculates.
The report says the Russians could blow up road and rail bridges over the Dnipro river.
A day earlier, on Nov. 11, the Ukrainian army entered the key southern city of Kherson, which had been occupied since the first days of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian flags are now flying in the city and near the city administration building.
In the evening of Nov. 11 Ukrainian President Zelenskyy officially announced the liberation of Kherson, warning that the Ukrainian army continues its work on removal of all invaders from the city. The Defence Ministry said this process could last several weeks.
As of Nov. 12, the Ukrainian army had liberated from Russian occupation about 3,000 square kilometers (1,160 square miles) in the south of the country. The General Staff reported that its troops have reached the Dnipro River in several places in Kherson Oblast.
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