Ukraine announces reconquests in Kherson, Moscow confirms its withdrawal | War in Ukraine

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Ukraine announces recaptures in Kherson, Moscow confirms withdrawal | War in Ukraine

US military official believes that ;there is a “negotiating opportunity”.

Ukrainian soldiers prepare a cannon fire in the Kherson region.

Ukraine announced on Thursday the reconquest of a dozen villages in the Kherson region, in the south of the country, from which Moscow confirmed that it had begun its withdrawal, which corresponds to a new setback for the #x27;Vladimir Putin's army.

It is not the enemy who is withdrawing, it is the Ukrainians who are driving out the occupier by paying the price, underlined in the evening President Volodymyr Zelensky, taking the opposite view of the #x27;Russian army, which on Wednesday said it was withdrawing to occupy better positions.

This was achieved through courage, pain and losses, the Ukrainian president added .

At midday, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zalouzhny, announced that his forces had advanced on Wednesday by 7 km, that they had taken control of six localities in the direction of Petropavlivka -Novoraysk and also recaptured six settlements in the direction of Pervomaiske-Kherson.

Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that in total 41 villages that were recaptured in the region, where the counter -Ukrainian offensive began in October.

The Russian army has meanwhile announced that it has started its withdrawal by moving its troops from the right bank, where the city of Kherson is located, to the left bank of the Dnieper River, a natural obstacle theoretically easier to defend.< /p>

Units of the Russian troop contingent are maneuvering towards prepared positions on the left bank of the Dnieper River, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

General Surovikin, in charge of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, announced on Wednesday that the withdrawal would take place very quickly, without giving a timetable.

A good part of the Ukrainian population is preparing to spend the winter in the cold, while the war continues .

On the Ukrainian side, the announcement was received without triumph and with circumspection, kyiv suspecting a trap. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted with extreme caution on Wednesday.

Noting that at this stage he could neither confirm nor deny the information relating to an alleged withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson, General Oleksiï Gromov, who represents the Ukrainian General Staff, however, pointed out that, with their backs to the Dnieper, the Russians had no choice but to flee in the face of the Ukrainian push.

< p class="e-p">In Mykolaiv, a large southern city about a hundred kilometers northwest of Kherson, residents are suspicious of the Kremlin's intentions.

Satellite images still showed the last few days the Russians digging lines of trenches on the left bank of the Dnieper across the river.

These positions could leave the Russians very well placed to target Ukrainian troops entering Kherson.

According to Igor Kossorotov, a 59-year-old mechanic, the Russians will simply ruin the city, and that's it. They will make it flow in the river.

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For its part, the Kremlin had no comment, as its spokesman's daily briefing was canceled on Thursday.

US President Joe Biden said the announcement of the withdrawal was proof that [the Russians] have real problems.

A Russian withdrawal would be another victory for kyiv, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said from Rome.

A Ukrainian soldier walks past a day care center damaged by a Russian attack in the village of Novooleksandrivka, near Kherson in Ukraine.

Kherson's departure, if confirmed, is another stinging setback for Moscow, which was already forced to abandon the Kharkiv region in September.

Especially since Vladimir Putin had demanded at the end of September the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, including Kherson, and on September 21 ordered the mobilization of some 300,000 reservists to consolidate the Russian lines .

The Russian president had warned that Russia would defend by all means what it now considers its territory.

Since the summer, the Ukrainian army , strong in Western armaments, gradually wore down the Russian forces, in particular by pounding the bridges, essential for supplying the troops on the western bank of the Dnieper.

In the Donbass, Russia has been trying for several weeks to take the city of Bakhmout, which had 70,000 inhabitants before the invasion.

It has become more complicated these three days, observes Vitaly, a 26-year-old Ukrainian soldier, with AFP. The Russians are pushing more and more, even if our men hold their positions, he says from Bakhmout.

kyiv's successes have also revived speculation on the possible resumption of peace talks, with some media even claiming that the West was pushing Ukraine to resume them.

There are well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed and wounded, top US military official General Mark Milley said Wednesday, speaking to the New York Economic Club. Same probably on the Ukrainian side, he added.

There must be a mutual recognition that military victory is probably not, in the literal sense of the word. , achievable by military means, added General Milley, according to whom there is a favorable conjuncture for the negotiation.

But Volodymyr Zelensky recalled this week his conditions for this, including the first is the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

And the United States did not seem to weaken its military support for Kyiv that much, as it announced on Thursday a further $400 million tranche of aid, including additional air defense capabilities.

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