KYIV: Russian forces are likely to abandon their foothold on the west bank of Ukraine’s Dnipro River, a Russian-installed occupation official in southern Ukraine said on Thursday, signaling a massive Russian retreat that, if confirmed, would be a major turning point in the war. Ukrainian officials remained cautious about signs that Russia was abandoning the area, and there was silence from higher-ups in Moscow over the announcement of what would amount to one of Russia’s most humiliating retreats since the invasion.
“Most likely our units, our soldiers, will leave for the left (eastern) bank,” Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy civilian administrator of the souther Kherson region, told Solovyov Live, a pro-Kremlin outlet. The area includes Kherson city,the only major city Russia had captured intact since its invasion in February. It also includes one side of a dam across the Dnipro which controls the water supply to irrigate Crimea. Speculation over whether Russia was pulling out swirled on Thursday, after photos on the internet showed the main administrative building in Kherson city without the Russian flag.





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