Russia abandons Kherson city, Ukraine Skeptical

Recently in Ukraine, the Russian government and armed forces announced that they would be withdrawing their armed forces to the East bank of the Dnipro river. Russian General Sergei Surovikin, who announced the withdrawal, cited multiple reasons for the withdrawal, including a worsening supply situation on the West bank of the Dnipro river, where Kherson is located. Kherson remains the only regional capital of a Ukrainian province that has been occupied by Russian Armed Forces since they invaded Ukraine in February. Kherson was captured after two months of fierce battles between the Ukrainian 59th Motorized Brigade and several Russian units and formations, most notably the 22nd Army Corps. After the capture of the city, it has become a focal point of the Southern Ukrainian Front, with it often falling target of Ukrainian High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket strikes. This is due to Kherson being a strategic supply location and a major city, which means there were several bridges and rail crossings around the city. 

Image of a HIMARS rocket system platform (United States Marine Corps/Photo by PFC Sarah Pysher).

However, the retreat has been called into question by the Ukrainian government, who suspect that Russian forces may be trying to lure Ukrainian units into an open battle in the city, which the government seeks to avoid. In a cautionary press release by the official website of Ukrainian President Vlodymr Zelensky, the following was stated on the announcement by the Russian Military: “The enemy does not bring us “gifts”, does not make gestures of “good will”. We fight our way up. And when you are fighting, you must understand that every step is always resistance from the enemy, it is always the loss of the lives of our heroes. Therefore, we move very carefully, without emotions, without unnecessary risk. In the interests of the liberation of our entire land and so that the losses are as small as possible. This is how we will secure the liberation of Kherson, Kakhovka, Donetsk, and other cities.” 


President of Ukraine Press Release

New York Times

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