This was announced by the Russian army the beginning of the withdrawal of his troops from Kherson, a strategic city in southern Ukraine which it had occupied since late February. Here are some explanations for the impact of this setback for President Vladimir Putin.
The commander of Russian operations in Ukraine, General Sergei Surovikin, presented this withdrawal as a way to save the thousands of Russian soldiers who were still on the ground, trapped with their backs to the Dnieper River and subjected to great pressure.
Since the end of August, the Ukrainian army has been carrying out a broad counter-offensive in the region, which allowed him to reconquer dozens of countries step by step.
Using high-precision long-range artillery supplied by the West, especially the American Himars, kyiv for weeks it has been bombarding ammunition depots incessantly and Russian supply lines in the region. Selective executions of pro-Russian senior officials have also increased.
“The enemy had no choice but to flee,” General Oleksiy Gromov, a representative of the Ukrainian staff, said Thursday, adding that it was impossible for him to “confirm or deny” whether he had actually withdrawn.
Fly he had already ordered the evacuation of civilians and from the Kherson occupation administration on October 18 to the left bank of the Dnieper, a natural barrier where Moscow could have more easily consolidated its lines.
The ISW military analysis center found the announcement of the Russian withdrawal unlikely to be a Moscow maneuver.
She said had checked recently “a steady withdrawal of Russian forces, military and economic resources and elements of the occupation” on the eastern bank of the Dnieper.
The withdrawal of Russian troops it’s a big setback for Vladimir Putin, who in September announced the annexation of the Kherson region, along with three other Ukrainian territories, promising that these lands would be Russian “forever”.
Strategically, it will be difficult for Moscow to continue its offensive against the Ukrainian city of Mikolaiv and the strategic Black Sea port of Odessa.
Also, Russia it could lose control of the Kakhovka Damon the Dnieper, strategic for the water supply of the annexed peninsula of Crimea, on the border with the Kherson region.
From the city of Kherson, Ukrainian troops could even attack Crimea directly with its long-range artillery.
After the Russian withdrawal from northeastern Ukraine, this second withdrawal in two months could also weigh the spirit of the troopsat a time when Moscow is deploying hundreds of thousands of reservists, mostly civilians with no real military experience.
Russian news channels have barely mentioned the withdrawal, as they often do when there is bad news on the Ukrainian front.
Unlike previous Russian setbacks, senior regime officials generally approved of the withdrawal, refraining from criticizing the Russian military hierarchy.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Evgeni Prigokhin, said the decision was difficult but necessary.
The appointment in October of General Serguei Surovikin as head of the Russian forces in Ukraine seems to have satisfied the most radicals. This soldier is said to be a ruthless but competent leader, able, if necessary, to make difficult decisions.
The deployment of Russian troops behind the Dnieper River would make it more difficult for Ukraine to continue its offensive in the region.
Moscow, which suffered heavy losses, you want to give yourself time to gear up and train the tens of thousands of soldiers mobilized since September. In view, perhaps, of a new offensive after the winter.
US officials also raised the possibility of resuming peace talks between Kiev and Moscow, which have been stalled since late March.