Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from the right bank of the Dnieper in Kherson.
“The decision to defend the left bank of the Dnieper is not easy, but we will save the lives of our soldiers and the combat effectiveness of the troop group.” With these words, Russian General Sergei Surovikin (67) announced on Wednesday the withdrawal of all Russian troops from the city of Kherson.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (67) approved it. “I agree with your conclusions and suggestions. The life and health of Russian soldiers are always a priority for us. We must also consider the threat to civilians. (…) Continue to withdraw troops, »said Shoigu at the meeting, as shown in a video by the Ria Novosti news agency.
Minister of Defense of Russia: “We must be aware of the danger to the population”(00:44)
Accordingly, a new defense line is to be established on the left bank of the Dnieper in the future. According to Surovikin, the withdrawal of troops should take place “in the near future”.
Supply problems due to missing bridges
But how did it happen that the soldiers of Vladimir Putin (70) now have to give up the strategically important city that they occupied in the first days of the war?
After the Ukrainian army launched attacks on important river crossings – the Antonov bridge near Kherson and the bridge near the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant – Russian troops fell into a trap due to supply problems.
The Russians then attempted to deliver reinforcements, ammunition and boat equipment. British Intelligence wrote in its daily war publications on October 22 that it was the first time “in decades” that the Russian military had had to build a bridge of boats.
“The area on the right bank of the Dnieper was difficult to supply because of the destroyed bridges. Therefore, it was dangerous for the troops to stay there. From a military point of view, this bridgehead was worthless to the Russian army,” said Russian military expert Jan Matvyeev for the independent news portal Important Stories.
On November 3rd it ended anyway. The Ukrainians destroyed the improvised crossing.
Problems with defense against attacks
In addition, Kyiv forces shelled ammunition depots and enemy positions. On October 24, the base was attacked by Chechen militants in the Kherson region. 23 “Kadyrovites” died – according to Ramzan Kadyrov (46). The Chechen ruler confirmed it three days later in a telegram.
It also cost the Russians a lot of power, explains Kirill Mikhailov, an analyst at the Russian research group “Conflict Intelligence Team”. “A significant amount of equipment, personnel and ammunition have been deployed to combat the Ukrainian attacks. All of this made the situation quite serious and potentially critical.”
Nevertheless, the soldiers remained there for several more weeks. Strategic expert Marcel Berni (34) from the Military Academy at ETH Zurich told Blick at the end of October that the Kremlin is probably interested in prestige. It is “the classic dilemma between military and political logic”.
Withdrawal justified by human lives
Now, military logic seems to have gained the upper hand. In the end, the Russian soldiers had no choice but to give up their position in the city of Kherson. Already on October 18, Surovikin spoke of a “difficult situation” that could require “tough decisions.”
On November 3, the pro-Russian deputy governor of the region, Kirill Stremouzov, said: “Our forces will probably retreat to the left bank of the river.” A 45-year-old man died in a car accident in the Kherson region on Wednesday – just before Shoigu ordered a withdrawal.
Battle on the left bank?
The city of Kherson, located on the right bank of the river, will soon no longer be under Russian control. But will the Russians manage to keep their position on the left? Jan Matvyeev believes that the Russian army will have it “a little easier”. «The line will go along the Dnieper, crossing it in battle is extremely risky, of course the Ukrainians will not make such attempts yet. The loss will simply be too much,” says the expert.
Ukrainian military expert Oleksiy Melnik holds a similar opinion. “I can’t imagine what general would do that,” he said of major stories. Instead, the Ukrainian military would continue to attempt to destroy Russian supply chains, camps and bases. “So in the end Surovikin has to make a ‘tough decision’ again.”
“Big Defeat for Putin”
Matveeyev believes that Putin will try to “freeze the front everywhere” in order to conduct negotiations and reach a ceasefire. “I don’t think that Kyiv will agree to this, and the liberation of the remaining areas will not take long,” he adds.
Politically speaking, the withdrawal from the right bank is “a big defeat for both the military and Putin himself. They will try to justify it by saying they care about the people, but that will not be convincing.” Because everyone knows that Putin sucks at people.” (Male)