Another setback: Russia has pulled back forces from towns opposite Kherson, says Ukraine

Freshly mobilized Russian conscripts surrounded in Kherson. Photo the sun newspaper.

Ukraine’s military said Russia had pulled some troops from towns on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River from Kherson city, the first official Ukrainian report of a Russian withdrawal on what is now the main frontline in the south.

The statement gave only limited details and did not mention any Ukrainian forces crossing the Dnipro. Ukrainian officials also stressed that Russia had intensified shelling across the river, knocking out power again in Kherson. Nearly three weeks after Russian troops vacated the city and fled across the river, electricity had only begun to be restored.

Since Russia abandoned Kherson last month, nine months into its invasion of Ukraine, the river now forms the entire southern stretch of the front, Reuters reported.

Russia has already told civilians to leave towns within 15 km of the river and withdrawn its civilian administration from the city of Nova Kakhovka on the bank. Ukrainian officials have previously said Russia pulled back some artillery near the river to safer positions further away but until now had stopped short of saying Russian forces were quitting towns.

“A decrease in the number of Russian soldiers and military equipment is observed in settlement of Oleshky,” the military said, referring to the town opposite Kherson city, on the far side of a destroyed bridge over the Dnipro.

“Enemy troops were withdrawn from certain settlements of the Kherson oblast and dispersed in forest strips along the section of the Oleshky – Hola Prystan highway,” it said, referring to a 25-km (15-mile) stretch of road through riverside towns scattered in woods on the bank opposite Kherson city.

It said most of the Russian troops in the area were recently mobilised reservists, suggesting that Moscow’s best-trained professional troops had already left. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

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