Substantial number of Russian forces remain in occupied Kherson Oblast, says Pentagon
Substantial number of Russian forces remain in occupied Kherson Oblast (Photo:REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)
Tens of thousands of Russian invasion troops remain in the occupied east-bank part of Kherson Oblast, a senior U.S. Defense Department official announced at a background briefing on Dec. 12.
"I won't get into specific numbers, other than to say there's tens of thousands of Russian forces on the eastern side of the river," he said.
According to him, in Kherson and Kharkiv oblasts the Ukrainian military continues to consolidate their previous gains, while the Russian troops are strengthening their defensive lines.
Earlier, Ukraine’s South Operational Command reported that after retreating from the city of Kherson, Russian troops came to the realization that they would not be able to hold the east-bank portion of Kherson Oblast either.
Russian forces retreated from the city of Kherson and the part of the surrounding oblast located on the right, or western bank of the Dnipro River in late October and early November.
Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Kherson and right-bank Kherson Oblast on Nov. 11, without major fighting.
However, the city has since come under shelling by Russian invasion forces. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Sept. 30 falsely claiming that Kherson Oblast and three other Ukrainian regions were part of Russia.
Russia continues to make small advances in fighting in Donetsk Oblast, while Ukraine is similarly making small advances in Luhansk Oblast.
Russia is also continuing its campaign to destroy civilian infrastructure across Ukraine, in an effort to deprive Ukrainians of heat, power and water supplies during winter.
The Kremlin hopes this will make Ukrainians put pressure on their government to agree to a ceasefire. Moscow badly needs a ceasefire to rebuild its military, which has been badly mauled in fighting in Ukraine over the past 10 months.
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