Despite the military withdrawal, Cherson belongs to Russia

Despite the military withdrawal, Cherson belongs to Russia
Despite the military withdrawal, Cherson belongs to Russia

Despite the military withdrawal, Cherson belongs to Russia

Moscow announced yesterday that its forces have completed the withdrawal from Ukraine’s strategically important city of Kherson and that their status as part of Russia has not changed, while Kyiv confirmed the recovery of dozens of mine-ridden areas in the south after the Russian withdrawal from it. Meanwhile, the United Nations said talks between a Russian delegation and senior officials of the international organization on the Grain Export Agreement had started in Geneva.

In detail, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the Defense Ministry as saying it had completed the withdrawal of troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River two days after Moscow announced the sudden withdrawal.

The ministry said in a statement released by Russian state news agencies that the withdrawal was completed by 5 a.m. yesterday morning and not a single unit of military equipment had been left behind.

Among the areas left behind by the Russian army was Kherson, the only regional capital Moscow captured during its eight-and-a-half-month war in Ukraine.

In the Kremlin’s first public statements since Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russian forces would withdraw from the city of Kherson to the other side of the Dnipro River, Peskov said in a conference call: “This was Commander Sorovikin’s proposal, since was the decision of the Secretary of Defense. I have nothing to add, I have nothing to say on the matter,” referring to statements by the Department of Defense, according to Bloomberg news agency yesterday.

He said Russia remains committed to achieving the goals of its so-called “military special operation” in Ukraine.

He added that the conflict “cannot end unless its goals are achieved or those goals are achieved through peace negotiations”.

“But given the position taken by the Ukrainian side, peace talks are impossible,” he added.

In connection with this, the Kremlin said that the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kherson will not change the status of the region, that Moscow has announced its annexation of Ukraine.

He added that the entire Kherson region of Ukraine and its capital are part of Russia, despite the withdrawal of the Russian army from the region, which Moscow announced in September would annex.

The Kremlin spokesman said yesterday that the Kherson region “belongs to the Russian Federation” and “there can be no change”.

He added that the Russian presidency “does not regret” the grand celebration at which President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, including Kherson, to Russia in September.

For its part, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry yesterday welcomed the announcement of Russia’s withdrawal from the northern Kherson region of southern Ukraine, calling it an “important victory”.

“Ukraine is writing another important victory at the moment and proves that whatever Russia says or does, Ukraine will win,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

However, according to Ukrainian reports, thousands of Russian troops were still present on the west bank of the river.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told Reuters that Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson will last at least a week.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address last night that Ukrainian forces had recaptured 41 districts as they advanced south.

Ukraine’s General Staff said it would keep its recent moves secret, but announced a list of 12 regions it said had been recaptured by Wednesday.

On the other hand, at least four people were killed and others injured in a rocket attack on a residential building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Friday night, the regional administration said.

“One of the rockets hit and destroyed a five-storey apartment building,” said the head of the regional administration Vitaly Kim in the Telegram app.

UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said in Geneva that talks between a Russian delegation and senior officials from the international organization over Moscow’s grievances over the Black Sea Grain Export Initiative began yesterday.

Negotiations are taking place just eight days before the deal’s extension. The deal helped avert a global food crisis by allowing food and fertilizer exports from some of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Vellucci said in Geneva that Martin Griffiths, the UN assistance coordinator leading talks on Ukrainian exports, and Rebecca Greenspan, the world’s top trade representative, are meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin at the organization’s Geneva office.

“We hope that these discussions will consolidate progress made in facilitating unhindered food and fertilizer exports from the Russian Federation to world markets,” she said in a news conference.

For his part, the Kremlin spokesman said yesterday that work is underway to address a number of Russian concerns over the Grains Initiative, which is due to expire on November 19. Peskov added that there was a mutual understanding “about Russia’s calls on the West to remove obstacles to its fertilizer and grain exports.”

To press

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