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Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) listens to Commander Sergei Surovikin (left) front on his visit to the command center of the Joint Russian Forces during Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) said it was impossible to supply the city of Kherson and its defense would be 'futile'Image: Russian Defence Ministry/TASS/IMAGO
ConflictsUkraine

Ukraine updates: Russia orders troops fall back in Kherson

November 9, 2022

Moscow's defense minister told troops to retreat from Kherson, and Kirill Stremousov, the city's Russian-installed deputy governor, was killed in a 'car crash.' Follow DW for the latest.

https://p.dw.com/p/4JHDi

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered his troops to withdraw from the southern city of Kherson on Wednesday, marking a significant retreat for Russia.

The city of Kherson is situated to the north of the Dnipro River on the left bank.

Defense Minister Shoigu and General Sergey Surovikin said that troops should regroup on the other side of the river, as Ukrainian forces advance.

"Having comprehensively assessed the current situation, it is proposed to take up defense along the left (eastern) bank of the Dnieper River," said Surovikin in a televised briefing.

Surovikin said that it was no longer possible to deliver supplies to the city of Kherson and other areas on the left bank of the river; Shoigu agreed with his proposal to retreat and set up defenses on the other side. 

"Proceed with the withdrawal of troops and take all measures to ensure the safe transfer of personnel, weapons and equipment across the Dnieper River," Shoigu told Surovikin.

Shoigu was on a visit to the region for briefings with military commanders.

A Ukrainian solider on an armored vehicle
Ukrainian troops have been bearing down on Russian positions in Kherson for weeksImage: Metin Aktas/AA/picture alliance

The news coincided with images circulating online showing the Darivka bridge on the highway heading east out of the regional capital almost completely destroyed and lying in the River Dnieper. It was not immediately clear how the bridge had been destroyed or by whom.

Images had also circulated earlier in the week of the regional government building in Kherson apparently without a security presence and without Russian flags visible. However, Kyiv had warned at the time that some of these images might be disinformation or a trap or both.

Surovikin told Shoigu that some 115,000 people had been removed from the western bank of the Dnieper.

Ukraine defines the movement of these people towards Russian occupied territory as deportation.

Kherson is one of the regions Russia recently declared annexed following so-called referendums.The regional capital of the same name was also the first major city Russia seized following its February 24 invasion. Kherson borders Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

We will save the lives of our servicemen: Russian General Sergei Surovikin

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, November 9:

Putin will not attend G-20 summit, Indonesian officials say

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the Group of 20 summit to take place in Bali, Indonesian officials said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation at the annual meeting of the leaders, officials added. The meeting is slated to take place from November 15-16.

The meeting would have been the first time that Putin and Biden would have been at the same gathering since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Biden, however, had ruled out meeting Putin if he did attend G20. 

All eyes are on whether Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, also attending the summit, will meet on the sidelines in Bali. The White House has not confirmed the meeting between the leaders yet.

Kherson pullback show Russia has 'real' problems: Biden

US President Joe Biden said Russia's orders to pull troops from Kherson show that Moscow has "real problems" in the war.

"It's evidence of the fact that they have some real problems, Russia, the Russian military," Biden said in Washington.

"In the area of foreign policy I hope we'll continue this bipartisan approach of confronting Russia's aggression in Ukraine," Biden added.

A group of Ukrainian lawmakers is also set to visit Washington in December, the New York Times reported.

Ukraine GDP expected contraction of 39% — economy minister

Economy minister of Ukraine, Yulia Svyrydenko, said that Russia's attacks on civilian infrastructure would broaden the expected contraction of the GDP from 35% to 39%.

Svyrydenko told members of the media that government was embarking on a number of cost-cutting measures, such as trying to cut down on the amount of government staff while also looking to privatize smaller state-owned enterprises.

Svyrydenko said Ukraine was also looking to extend the suspension of US steel tariffs to give Ukrainian steel producers — who have suffered due to Russian missile attacks — some breathing room.

Germany provides list of military aid destined for Ukraine

The German government has announced new deliveries of military aid to Ukraine.

In a new list published on Wednesday, it said it has delivered 30 Dingo armored personnel carriers, missiles for the Iris-T SLM air defense system, four more drone defense systems, 18 reconnaissance drones, as well as trucks and forklifts.

It has prepared delivery of more anti-aircraft missiles, dozens of mine-clearing tanks and minesweepers, and five mobile reconnaissance systems.

A timeframe for delivery was not given in the interests of security.

NATO chief says Ukraine's gains 'encouraging'

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said it was "encouraging" to see Ukrainian forces being able to liberate captured territory.

Stoltenberg was speaking in London where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and said the victory was down to the actions of Ukraine's armed forces but also highlighted the support being provided by allies.

"The victories, the gains the Ukrainian armed forces are making belongs to the brave, courageous Ukrainian soldiers but of course the support they receive from the United Kingdom, from NATO allies and partners is also essential," Stoltenberg said.

Fears of a trap as Russia announces withdrawal from Cherson: DW's Nick Connolly

Too early to talk of Russian withdrawal from Kherson — senior adviser

A senior adviser in Ukraine's presidency told Reuters news agency that it was still too soon to talk about a Russian withdrawal from the city of Kherson.

"Until the Ukrainian flag is flying over Kherson, it makes no sense to talk about a Russian withdrawal," Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement to Reuters.

Podolyak said that Russian forces remained in Kherson, so appeared to be adopting a cautious stance.

"Ukraine does not take these statements (by Russia) into consideration," he said.

"It is still too early to talk about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson: a grouping of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is being maintained in the city, and additional manpower is being pulled into the region," Podolyak said. 

This follows the Russian defense minister's earlier announcement that troops would be withdrawing from the west bank of the Dnieper River.

Russian-installed Kherson deputy governor killed in 'car crash'

Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, officials said the Russian-installed deputy head of Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, had died.

"Kirill Sergeyevich Stremousov has died," the head of Russia-annexed Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said on messaging app Telegram, calling him a "true fighter" and a "Russian patriot." Aksyonov did not specify the cause of the death. 

Another Russian-installed official in Kherson said he was involved in a road traffic accident.

"It’s very hard for me to say that Kirill Stremousov died today. He died in the Kherson region, moving in a car that got into an accident," said Acting Governor of the Kherson region Volodymyr Saldo.

Stremousov, 45, was one of the highest-profile officials in Ukraine supporting Russia's invasion.

Ukraine's military is advancing on the city but has kept details of its operations vague. 

Prior to his death, Stremousov had called on residents to evacuate Kherson and head east saying it was for their own safety — Ukraine described the appeal as a program of forced deportations.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin posthumously awarded Stremousov the Order of Courage, a prestigious state award.

EU unveils €18 billion Ukraine support plan

The European Commission unveiled an €18 billion (roughly $18 billion) economic support plan for Ukraine aimed at helping it through 2023.

According to the plan, each month the EU will send €1.5 billion in the form of loans.

"We are presenting this new financial package for Ukraine at a time of acute needs for the country, as Russia's relentless attacks continue to batter key infrastructure," said Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.

The International Monetary Fund estimates Ukraine will need $3-4 billion a month in 2023.

The EU is hoping the US will match its contribution, while gap funding will come by way of other donors and financial institutions.

The financial aid package still needs to be approved by EU member states.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to Twitter after the announcement, saying "this shows the true solidarity of the EU," and also including an appeal for Ukraine to eventually join the bloc.

jsi, kb, msh/aw (AFP, Reuters) 

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