Russia apparently prepared to withdraw from Kherson City
A man is fishing on the waterfront in Kherson, October 31 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)
Russia has laid the groundwork to withdraw its troops from Kherson – the largest city and only regional capital Moscow managed to capture since Feb. 24 – Politico reported on Nov. 3, citing an unnamed Western official.
Ukrainian forces have achieved “impressive” results in liberating Ukrainian territories over the past few weeks, the official said, while Russian troops have been forced to take a more defensive stance and are experiencing an “acute ammunition shortage.”
According to Politico, it is now believed that Russia temporarily reinforced its forces near Kherson to cover the retreat to the left bank of the Dnipro River, and also ordered the forcible relocation of residents from the right bank.
“We are confident in our previous warnings that the prospects of Russian military withdrawal from their Kherson bridgehead,” the official said.
“Planning is almost certainly well advanced.”
According to the report, the decision to retreat “is more about the Russians making long-term strategic decisions about where is best to defend in order to be effective, maintain their own munitions supplies, maintain their troop levels and set themselves for the winter.” The Russians "might decide that Kherson is not worth fighting for" and having “a natural defensive barrier in the form of a river is extremely important to them.”
Earlier, collaborator and Moscow’s Kherson puppet Kyrylo Stremousov said that Russian troops in Kherson Oblast would most likely retreat to the left bank of the Dnipro.
On Nov. 3, numerous eyewitnesses said that Russian troops have abandoned their checkpoints in several towns across the region. Similarly, the Russian flag is evidently gone from Kherson Regional Administration building, which Moscow used as the headquarters for its occupation administration in Kherson Oblast.
The Ukrainian military, however, said the apparent withdrawal could be a ruse.
“This could be a provocation of some kind, hoping to create the impression that towns are abandoned and are free (for our troops) to enter,” Ukraine’s Operational Command South spokesperson Nataliya Humeniuk said.
Head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, previously said the liberation of Kherson City could take most of November.
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