Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Thursday that Russia had withdrawn some troops from towns on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River from the city of Kherson, the first official Ukrainian report of a Russian withdrawal from what is now the main line of forward in the south of the country.
The statement gave only limited details and made no mention of any Ukrainian forces having crossed the Dnipro. Ukrainian officials also stressed that Russia had stepped up bombing across the river, again shutting power to Kherson, where electricity had only begun to be restored nearly three weeks after Russian troops left the city and fled across the river.
Since Russia abandoned Kherson last month, nine months after it invaded Ukraine, the river now forms the entire southern section of the front🇧🇷
Russia has already told civilians to leave towns within 15 kilometers (km) of the river and has withdrawn its civil administration from the city of Nova Kakhovka on the riverbank. Ukrainian officials have previously said that Russia had withdrawn some artillery near the river to safer, more distant positions, but until now had not said that Russian forces were leaving the towns.
“A decrease in the number of Russian soldiers and military equipment is observed in the settlement of Oleshky,” the military said, referring to the town opposite the city of Kherson, on the other side of a destroyed bridge over the Dnipro River.
Most of the Russian troops in the area, they say, are reservists and have recently been deployed, suggesting that Moscow‘s best-trained professional troops had already left.
Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
Air raid sirens sounded again across Ukraine on Thursday as residents fled to shelters, but there were no immediate reports of major missile strikes and the warning was lifted.
Since early October, Russia has launched massive missile and drone strikes almost weekly across Ukraine to disrupt its power, water and heating supplies, which Kiev and the West say was intended to harm civilians, a crime of war.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended those attacks, saying today that Moscow was targeting Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure to prevent Kiev from importing Western weapons. He did not explain how such attacks could achieve that goal.
“We have disabled the power facilities (in Ukraine) that allow you (the West) to launch lethal weapons into Ukraine to kill Russians,” Lavrov said.
Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News