Sis a withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson imminent? Kirill Stremouzov, the deputy head of the regional administration set up by the occupying forces, said on Thursday: “Our troops will probably retreat to the left bank in the Kherson region,” said Stremouzov on Russian television. The region’s capital, Cherson, is on the right bank of the Dnipro, where the Russian army has been under increasing pressure since the summer. Expectations were also expressed in the Telegram channels of Russian war correspondents that the course of the front line could soon change.
Also on Thursday, short videos showing the building of the Kherson regional administration were circulated on Ukrainian Telegram channels – without the Russian flag that has been flying there since early summer. One of the recordings was apparently made on a bus; exclamations of joy are heard as people notice the absence of the flag. There were also reports that the Russians had abandoned some checkpoints on the northern and western edges of Kherson, which they had taken within days of capturing the city in March. In the social networks in Ukraine, all these news were joyfully commented on.
Warning of a Russian provocation
The Ukrainian armed forces, however, urge caution: It could be a provocation intended to give the impression that the occupiers have left certain places, said the spokeswoman for the southern command. “If you consider that they prepared for street fighting and how they set up their units, we see these actions as planned tactics.” The head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service (GUR), Kyrylo Budanov, made a similar statement last week : “The Russian occupiers only create the illusion that they are leaving Kherson, but in fact they are bringing new military units there,” he said. Among the Russian troops in the city were the units with the greatest fighting power.