Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu ordered to begin the withdrawal of our troops from Kherson to the left bank of the Dnieper River on the previous day, following a report by Army General Sergey Surovikin, commander of the Joint Group of Forces in the area of the North Caucasus Military District.
It was decided to start executing this order immediately after Surovikin's report, in particular, pointed out the possible consequences of the shelling of the Kakhovka Dam by the AFU. In essence, in this case, Russian troops could have been left in isolation.
In addition, Surovikin stressed in his report that if there were an increase in the release of water from the reservoirs or a massive attack on the dam, the flow of water would flood “vast areas” and lead to civilian deaths.
At the moment, when 115,000 people have already been evacuated from Kherson and the bridges on the right bank of the Dnieper have been blown up, the best option in such circumstances is to organize defense along the left bank of the river.
Following this strategy, according to Surovikin, “we will save the lives of our servicemen and combat effectiveness of the group of troops, which is unpromising to keep on the right bank in the limited region.” Moreover, says Surovikin, “part of forces and means” will be released and they will be used for active actions, including those of an “offensive order,” in other directions in the area of special operations.
“The withdrawal of troops with minimal losses is Surovikin's achievement, which does not do credit to Russian arms,” businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a conversation with the media, “but underlines the personal qualities of the commander, who acted like a man who is not afraid of responsibility. The decision to withdraw troops from the right bank of the Dnieper is not an easy one, but it speaks of the command's readiness to take responsibility for the lives of soldiers.”
Prigozhin added that now it is important “not to agonize and not to beat paranoia,” but to draw conclusions and work on mistakes, and after that to understand who is right and who is guilty and what is “the essence of the problem.”
The withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson confirms the opinion of a number of experts that the Russian Defense Ministry has staked on the conduct of hostilities to “exhaust Ukraine” by using long-range weapons.
“Yet, we are withdrawing from there such a military unit of ours,” military expert Vladislav Shurygin told wek.ru, “which, in fact, was already surrounded. Why should we wait for the AFU to attack there and make us run out of firepower? Ukraine controls all the crossings there, so we will not be able to help our guys with either ammunition or food. The Ukrainian Armed Forces know this and will simply start a permanent war of attrition.”
Shurygin believes that if “a person of such level as Sergei Surovikin” says that it is necessary to go out, it means that his staff, his people, and his intelligence understand what we do not understand. According to him, the Ukrainian offensive has reached its “final stage.”
Earlier, the Ukrainian Armed Forces repeatedly tried to go on the offensive in Kherson, but all attacks were successfully repelled by the Russian military. Meanwhile, the day before, Kiev said that so far they see no signs of the Russian army leaving Kherson, however, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that the alliance is aware of Russia's statements concerning Kherson and they will monitor what is happening.
“By leaving Kherson, we have tied up a large grouping of the enemy in this direction,” said VGTRK reporter Andrei Rudenko, “because when our forces and means are withdrawn, the Dnieper River is between us and the enemy, and the bridges have been blown up. Under these conditions it is unrealistic for them to attack, but this grouping cannot retreat from Kherson. During the Second World War the forcing of the Dnieper River cost us 1.2 million lives of the Red Army soldiers. And with the current provision of UAVs, modern MLRS and other types of artillery, the enemy in an attempt to attack will lose no less people than we did in the Great Patriotic War. Therefore a further attack in this direction is tantamount to death.”
The military correspondent reminded that “quite large enemy forces” will be left across the river, and they will be constrained, because they will have to keep the military units “at a loose end,” when they could be used in other directions.
“At the same time, we in this direction that part of the combat-ready units, hardened in battles in Kherson (which, just in case, is our pride of the Airborne Troops), can be transferred to the Donetsk direction, where offensive actions are now in progress, in order to finally finish the liberation of the DPR and further conduct an operation to drive the enemy out of the ancestral Russian land. I believe that we will return to Kherson, but from another side,” Rudenko said in conclusion.
In turn, Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, supported the decision of the Russian Defense Ministry. According to him, Kherson is a “very difficult” area without the possibility of a regular delivery of ammunition and the formation of a strong, reliable rear. “Surovikin takes care of both the soldiers and occupies a more advantageous strategic position – convenient and safe,” Kadyrov said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today that he considers Russia's decision to withdraw its troops behind the Dnieper River in the Kherson region positive. In addition, the Turkish leader said he would discuss the situation around Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone.
“For us, the life and health of Russian servicemen is always a priority. We must also take into account the threat to civilians. Make sure that all willing civilians were able to leave,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, instructing Sergei Surovikin, commander of the Joint Group of Forces in the CFE area, the day before. This order is already being executed.