Mykolaiv (Ukraine): The Russian Defence Ministry said on Friday that it finished pulling out its troops from the western bank of the Dnieper River in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, a retreat that marks another humiliating setback for Moscow in its war in Ukraine.
In a statement carried by Russia’s state news agencies, the ministry said the withdrawal was completed at 5 am on Friday, and not a single unit of military equipment was left behind.
Areas the Russian military departed from included the city of Kherson, the only regional capital Moscow seized during its 8 1/2 month invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin remained defiant on Friday, insisting the retreat in no way represented an embarrassment for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow continues to view the Kherson region as part of Russia.
He added that the Kremlin doesn’t regret holding festivities just over a month ago to celebrate the illegal annexation of Kherson and three other Ukrainian regions.
Shortly before the Russian announcement, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation in the Kherson region 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.