spot_imgspot_img
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

UKRAINE TROOPS PREPARE TO RECLAIM CITY ABANDONED BY RUSSIANS

Date:

MYKOLAIV, UKRAINE (AP) — Russia relinquished its final foothold in a major city in southern Ukraine on Friday, allowing Ukrainian forces to move cautiously toward reclaiming the country’s only Russian-occupied provincial capital in what would be a major morale-boosting victory.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops finished withdrawing from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s Kherson region at 5 a.m. The area they left included the city of Kherson, the only provincial capital Russia had captured during its nearly 9-month invasion of Ukraine.

Videos and photos circulating on social media showed local residents cheerfully taking to the streets and a Ukrainian flag flying over a monument in a central Kherson square for the first time since early March, when the city was seized by the Russians. Some footage showed crowds cheering on men in military uniform.

Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the city was back in Ukrainian hands. A spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said “an operation to liberate Kherson” and the surrounding region of the same name was underway

“But it will be possible to talk about establishing Ukrainian control over the city only after an official report by the General Staff” of the Ukrainian army, Andriy Yusov told The Associated Press.

Ukrainian intelligence urged Russian soldiers who might still be in the city to surrender in the anticipation of Kyiv’s forces arriving.

“Your command left you to the mercy of fate. … Your commanders urge you to change into civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson on your own. Obviously. you won’t be able to,” the intelligence statement read.

The final Russian withdrawal came six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed the Kherson region and three other Ukrainian provinces, vowing they would remain Russian forever.

Moscow’s forces still control about 70% of the Kherson region following the pullback ordered amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Kremlin remained defiant Friday, insisting the withdrawal in no way represented an embarrassment for Putin. Moscow continues to view the entire Kherson region as part of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He added that the Kremlin doesn’t regret holding festivities just over a month ago to celebrate the annexation of occupied or partially occupied regions of Ukraine.

Shortly before the Russian announcement, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation in the province as “difficult.” It reported Russian shelling of some of the villages and towns Ukrainian forces reclaimed in recent weeks during their counteroffensive in the Kherson region.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s army said the Russian forces also left looted homes, damaged power lines and mined roads in their wake. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak predicted Thursday the departing Russians would seek to turn Kherson into a “city of death” and would continue to shell it after relocating across the Dnieper River.

Ukrainian officials were wary of the Russian pullback announced this week, fearing their soldiers could get drawn into an ambush in Kherson city, which had a prewar population of 280,000. Military analysts also had predicted it would take Russia’s military at least a week to complete the troop withdrawal.

Without referencing events unfolding in Kherson, Zelenskyy said in a video message thanking U.S. military personnel on Veterans Day that that “victory will be ours.”

“Your example inspires Ukrainians today to fight back against Russian tyranny,” he said. “Special thanks to the many American veterans who have volunteered to fight in Ukraine and to the American people for the amazing support you have given Ukraine. With your help, we have stunned the world and are pushing Russian forces back.”

However, some quarters of the Ukrainian government barely disguised their glee at the pace of the Russian withdrawal.

“The Russian army leaves the battlefields in a triathlon mode: steeplechase, broad jumping, swimming,” Andriy Yermak, a senior presidential adviser, tweeted. Social media videos apparently filmed by soldiers on routes toward Kherson showed villagers hugging the Ukrainian troops.

Recapturing the city could provide Ukraine a strong position from which to expand its southern counteroffensive to other Russian-occupied areas, potentially including Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014.

From its forces new positions on the eastern bank, however, the Kremlin could try to escalate the war, which U.S. assessments showed may already have killed or wounded tens of thousands of civilians and hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

A Russian S-300 missile strike overnight killed seven people in Mykolaiv, a city about 68 kilometers (42 miles) from Kherson’s regional capital, Zelenskyy’s office said Friday morning. Rescue crews sifted through the rubble of a five-story residential building in search of survivors.

Standing in front of what used to be his family’s apartment, Roman Mamontov, 16, awaited news about his missing mother.

Mamontov said he found “nothing there” when he opened an apartment door to look for his mother after the missile struck. Friday was her 34th birthday, the teenager said.

“My mind was blank at that moment. I thought it could not be true,” he said. “The cake she prepared for the celebration is still there.”

Zelenskyy called the missile strike “the terrorist state’s cynical response to our successes at the front.”

“Russia does not give up its despicable tactics. And we will not give up our struggle. The occupiers will be held to account for every crime against Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Zelenskyy said.

The Russian Defense Ministry didn’t acknowledge striking a residential building in Mykolaiv, saying only that an ammunition depot was destroyed “in the area of the city.”

The president’s office said Russian drones, rockets and heavy artillery strikes across eight regions killed at least 14 civilians between Thursday morning and Friday morning.

The state of the key Antonivskiy Bridge that links the western and eastern banks of the Dnieper in the Kherson region remained unclear Friday. Russian media reports suggested the bridge was blown up following the Russian withdrawal; pro-Kremlin reporters posted footage of the bridge missing a large section.

But Sergei Yeliseyev, a Russian-installed official in the Kherson region, told the Interfax news agency that “the Antonivskiy Bridge hasn’t been blown up, it’s in the same condition.”

Gen. Ben Hodges, former commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe, described the retreat from Kherson as a “colossal failure” for Russia and said Russian military commanders should have pulled all their forces out of the city “weeks ago,” to put the Dnieper River between them and Ukraine’s advancing troops.

Hodges, speaking in a phone interview with The Associated Press, said he expected Ukrainian commanders would work to keep the pressure on Russia’s depleted forces in the weeks ahead, ahead of a possible future push next year for Crimea, seized by Russia in 2014.

Russia is “going to have a very difficult time over the next several months continuing to hold back a very confident Ukrainian military that has a strong wind in their back” in the wake of the offensive for Kherson, he said.

smartnews
Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

LATEST DEVELOPMENT

ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION SURFACE IN BOAKAI GOVERNMENT’S INFRASTRUCTURE EQUIPMENT DEAL

MONROVIA – A staunch supporter of President Joseph Nyuma...

INVESTIGATION REVEALS POSSIBLE FRAUD IN US$25 MILLION FOREX INFUSION BY PREVIOUS CDC GOVERNMENT

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – A recent investigation has uncovered significant...

HASSAN BILITY RESPONDS TO ACCUSATIONS OF MANIPULATING WITNESSES IN WAR CRIMES CASES

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Hassan Bility, Executive Director of the...

EXECUTIVE MANSION’S SILENCE ON DEAL WITH BUSINESSMAN ROBERT GUMEDE UNDER FIRE

MONROVIA — In a controversial move that has left...

PRESS SECRETARY KULA FOFANA’S UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ACTION

The recent turmoil between the reporters assigned to the...

ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY AND IMPACT IN PRESIDENT BOAKAI’S FIRST CABINET RETREAT

Today marks the commencement of the Unity Party administration's...

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: ADDRESSING THE SEWAGE CRISIS IN CENTRAL MONROVIA

The ongoing issue of sewage leaking into the streets...

PRES. BOAKAI’S LEADERSHIP UNDER SCRUTINY AMID CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA CORRUPTION SCANDAL

The recent revelations of large-scale looting at the Central...

COMMENTARY

THERE SHOULD BE NO BIG DEAL WHEN A GOVERNMENT DOES WHAT IT WAS ELECTED FOR…

A Patriot's Diary  With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley  President Joseph Boakai's...

EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF THE UNITY PARTY GOVERNMENT’S 3-DAY RETREAT

As the Unity Party administration, under President Joseph Nyuma...

PRESIDENT BOAKAI ADDRESSES LOOMING RICE PRICE HIKE WITH KEY STAKEHOLDERS

In response to growing concerns regarding the potential surge...

 NATIONAL UNIFICATION DAY: REFLECTING ON LIBERIA’S JOURNEY TOWARDS UNITY

National Unification Day in Liberia, celebrated on May 14th,...

LATEST NEWS

AMERICAN MISSIONARY LUCAS RICHARDS ACQUITTED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGES

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – American missionary Lucas Richards has been...

CORRUPTION IN LIBERIA “MAN-MADE PLAGUE” – SAYS US AMBASSADOR MCCARTHY  

MONROVIA – US Ambassador to Liberia Michael A. McCarthy...

GOL INCREASES STAPLE FOOD PRICE AMID GLOBAL RICE MARKET TURMOIL

Monrovia, Liberia – The government of Liberia has announced...

Share post:

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

OPINION

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN UP-LED GOVERNMENT’S DEAL RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS

In a shocking and controversial move, the Unity Party...

THE PERILS OF PRAISE SINGING: HOW JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY IS ESSENTIAL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN LIBERIA

Journalists play a crucial role in holding public officials...

AN OPINION: COMMENDING THE EMBASSY OF SWEDEN, SIDA, AND CENTAL FOR CHAMPIONING ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS IN LIBERIA

An Opinion By Socrates Smythe Saywon The recent one-day Anti-corruption...

AN OPINION: ADDRESSING BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIES’ DEVASTATING IMPACT ON EDUCATION

An Opinion By Socrates Smythe Saywon The presence and operations...

THE GALLERY

spot_imgspot_img

MORE ARTICLES

spot_imgspot_img

MORE NEWS

LATEST DEVELOPMENT NEWS

LATEST CRIME NEWS

Share via
Copy link