Moscow, Nov 9 (EFE).- The Russian army has been ordered to withdraw from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, the only regional capital Moscow managed to capture since launching its invasion in February.
The commander of Russian forces in Ukraine Sergey Surovikin announced Wednesday that troops would move to the left bank of the Dnieper river, effectively abandoning Kherson city amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southern region of the same name.
Surovkin said the decision was “not easy,” Russian news agency Tass reported, adding that the move had been approved by defense minister Sergei Shoigu.
An estimated 115,000 Kherson residents have already been evacuated to the left bank of the river.
Kherson is one of four regions that Russian president Vladimir Putin unilaterally annexed from Ukraine in September this year, along with neighboring Zaporizhizhia and the Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have been under Russian-backed separatist control since 2014.
Russian forces seized power in Kherson city six days into the invasion. The city is a strategic port with access to the Black Sea and lies to the north of Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Russian-planted deputy leader of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, reportedly died in a car crash earlier on Wednesday, according to Russian media. EFE