Russian troops have been ordered to withdraw from the western bank of the Dnipro River in the Ukrainian region of Kherson.

In televised comments, General Sergei Surovikin said it was no longer possible to supply the city of Kherson and other parts of the West Bank.

He said, “We will save the lives of our soldiers and the combat capability of our units.

“Keeping them on the right (west) bank is futile.

“Some of them can be used on other fronts.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu responded by saying, “I agree with your conclusions and proposals.

“Proceed with the withdrawal of the troops and take all measures to transfer the forces across the river.”

The announcement marks one of Russia’s most important retreats – the city of Kherson was seized by Russia at the start of the war and is the only regional capital the country has captured during the conflict, which dates back nearly nine months.

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Mikhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said: “Ukraine does not pay attention to Russian statements – words and actions differ.”

The Kherson region was annexed in September, along with three other parts of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia.

Mr. Zelenskyy has repeatedly stated that the return of all occupied territories is a condition of any peace talks with Russia.

But Russia is unlikely to give up its claim to the four regions, or to Crimea, which it took in 2014.

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