New Delhi: Ukrainian military has claimed that it has retaken swathes of territory in Kherson on Thursday after Russia began a partial withdrawal from the area.
Ukraine-based The Kyiv Independent reported that the military on Thursday targeted two concentrations of Russian firepower. It reported Southern Operational Command as stating that the Ukrainian army also killed 50 Russian troops and destroyed three tanks, a Msta-S self-propelled howitzer, and 11 armored vehicles on the southern front line on November 10.
“The command also reported that Russia now has 17 ships in the Black Sea, including two missile carriers with 16 Kalibr cruise missiles on board. The command warns that while retreating, Russian forces might have mined large areas, buildings, and other facilities that provide humanitarian needs for the civilian population,” The Kyiv Independent mentioned in its tweets.
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Officials in Kyiv warned that retreating Russian soldiers could turn Kherson into a “city of death” on their way out.
In just 24 hours, Ukrainian forces had pushed the front line in the key southern region of Kherson forward by 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) and taken control of more than 260 square kilometers of territory (100 square miles), CNN reported a military spokesman as saying.
According to Kyiv, it took control of the towns of Snihurivka and Kyselivka which sit along key roads leading into Kherson city, the regional capital.
This came after Moscow on Wednesday said that the Russian troops would withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River, an area that includes Kherson city. The retreat is seen as one of the biggest military setbacks for Russia since the invasion.
Kherson is one of four Ukrainian regions that Russia attempted to annex going against international law. The retreat is being viewed with skepticism by officials in Kyiv as they doubt Kremlin would give up a territory filled with people that Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed would be Russian citizens “forever.”
According to CNN’s report, Ukrainian officials suspect that the Russian military will embrace scorched earth tactics and leave behind a trail of devastation in the wake of their withdrawal.
Adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, alleged on Thursday that Russia “wants to turn Kherson into a ‘city of death.’”.
The Russian military “mines everything they can: apartments, sewers. Artillery on the left [eastern] bank plans to turn the city into ruins. This is what ‘Russian world’ looks like: came, robbed, celebrated, killed ‘witnesses,’ left ruins and left,” Podolyak tweeted.
RF wants to turn Kherson into a “city of death”. Ru-military mines everything they can: apartments, sewers. Artillery on the left bank plans to turn the city into ruins. This is what “Russian world” looks like: came, robbed, celebrated, killed “witnesses”, left ruins and left.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) November 10, 2022
As per the CNN report, Ukraine military spokesman Vladyslav Nazarov stated that Russian forces were continuing to shell areas recaptured by Ukraine and attempted to strike points of humanitarian aid distribution.
Signs Of Retreat Emerge
However, the report mentioned that signs of the retreat have also emerged as Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Washington had seen the “beginnings” of a Russian withdrawal in Kherson.
Satellite imagery taken last week of Crimea showed trenches being dug near the border with Kherson, this can be seen as a sign that Russian military leaders are nervous about the progress of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky informed that more than 41 settlements in southern Ukraine have been freed following Russia’s decision to move to the eastern side of the Dnipro river.
Police units moved into several settlements in Kherson to begin stabilisation measures, he added, saying that the liberation of this territory was just the first step in a long process.