Putin was further humiliated after the Kherson “surrender”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference at Rus Sanatorium October 31, 2022 in Sochi, Russia.
Contributor | Getty Images
As Russia’s military commanders announced another significant withdrawal from another temporarily occupied part of Ukraine on Wednesday, the withdrawal comes as a further humiliation for President Putin.
Putin held back on Wednesday when Russia announced it was withdrawing its troops from the city of Kherson and the entire west bank of the Dnipro River, which bisects the Kherson region, as it could no longer resupply its troops there, saying it was takes care of his military personnel.
On September 30, Putin hailed the annexation of Kherson after a rigged referendum in the region, saying residents there would “become our citizens forever.”
Six weeks later, during which time Russia ordered a forced evacuation of residents of Kherson onto Russian territory, Putin’s words ring hollow.
When news of the withdrawal broke yesterday, one of Putin’s former advisers, Sergei Markov, wrote on his Telegram account that “the surrender of Kherson is Russia’s biggest geopolitical defeat since the collapse of the USSR,” and warned that “the… political consequences of this tremendous defeat will be really great.”
— Holly Ellyatt
UN officials meet with Russians on Friday on grain deal with Ukraine
The Sierra Leonean-flagged cargo ship Razoni, transporting Ukrainian grain, is seen in the Black Sea off Kilyos near Istanbul, Turkey, August 2, 2022.
Yoruk Isik | Reuters
Senior United Nations officials planned to meet with members of a senior Russian delegation in Geneva on Friday to discuss the grain deal with Ukraine, a UN spokesman said.
“They will continue ongoing consultations in support of Secretary-General António Guterres’ efforts to fully implement the two agreements signed in Istanbul on July 22,” the spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday.
In his nightly speech, Zelenskyj warns against premature celebrations
Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged European nations to stop buying Russian oil.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy adopted a more serious and reserved tone in his late-night speech despite the “joy in information space” following Russia’s decision to withdraw troops from Kherson.
“Maybe that doesn’t sound like what everyone is expecting right now, maybe it doesn’t sound like what’s on the news [today]”, he said. “But you have to understand: no one just moves anywhere when they’re feeling strong. The enemy does not give us gifts, does not make “gestures of goodwill”. We choose all of that.”
Instead, Zelenskyy declared, Ukraine is moving “very carefully, without emotion, without unnecessary risk,” both in the interest of liberating the entire territory of Ukraine and in the interest of minimizing the loss of human life on and off the battlefield.
This also includes remaining silent on the details of upcoming operations and letting the victories speak for themselves when they come.
“In this way we will ensure the liberation of Kherson, Kakhovka, Donetsk and our other cities,” he said. “But that will be the result of our efforts, our defensive operations. The ones that are running right now, the ones that we are still planning.”
– Rocio Fabbro
Zelenskyi signs new law creating four new military administrations in Kherson
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a statement February 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy established four new military administrations in the Kherson region after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia would move troops to the east bank of the Dnipro River, away from the city of Kherson.
“The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the decree on the formation of four military administrations in the Kherson region. Dolmativska, Holoprystanska, Kakhovska and Khrestivska,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, in a telegram post.
Military administrations are temporary local governments that date back to a 2015 law ensuring continued compliance with Ukraine’s constitution and laws. The executive order is effective immediately.
Ukraine continues its advance towards Kherson while Russia withdraws its troops. Ukrainian officials are skeptical of Russia’s announcement. explained Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenkyy in a tweet that he “sees no sign of Russia leaving Kherson without a fight”.
– Rocio Fabbro
Russian statement on peace talks “another smoke screen,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry says
Ukrainian soldiers attend a rehearsal of an official ceremony to hand over tanks, armored personnel carriers and military vehicles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as the country celebrates Army Day December 6, 2021 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Gleb Garanich | Reuters
Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko gave a startling reaction to Russia’s recent announcement that it would open negotiations with Ukraine.
“The statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry is another smoke screen,” he said in a statement. “Every time Russian troops are defeated on the battlefield, Russian officials start mentioning the talks. Moscow is not interested in restoring peace in Ukraine.”
“Feigning readiness for dialogue, the Russian Federation is trying to buy time to regroup its units, prepare newly mobilized Russians, solve the problem of the shortage of weapons, eliminate the shortcomings of logistics, and then resort to new attack waves with new forces, ” he added.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a news conference earlier Wednesday that Russia is ready to negotiate and has never refused to do so, Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported. The announcement was followed by news that Russia would be withdrawing troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River.
According to Nikolenko, the mood is similar to 2014 and 2015 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Despite statements from the Russian Federation suggesting openness to peace talks, Nikolenko sees Russia’s actions as directly targeting these goals.
“Those who are genuinely interested in peace negotiations do not destroy towns and villages, kill civilians, destroy energy infrastructure, mistreat residents of temporarily occupied areas, do not disrupt food supplies,” he said.
Ukraine has repeatedly assured allies that it remains open to negotiations on its own terms.
“I would like to remind you that Ukraine has repeatedly offered negotiations,” said Nikolenko. “But we always received either a contemptuous reaction and a demand to obey the Kremlin’s ultimatums, or some other genocide against the Ukrainians.”
– Rocio Fabbro
Russia orders troop withdrawal from Cherson, west bank of Dnipro
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has ordered the withdrawal of troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River, marking the beginning of the deoccupation of Ukraine’s Kherson region.
Shoigu agreed with Russian General Sergei Surovikin’s proposal to organize defenses on the east bank of the Dnieper, Russia’s state news agency RIA reported. Surovikin claimed that Kherson and the surrounding areas could not be fully supplied or supported under the current conditions as Ukraine continues its advances towards the region.
According to Ukrainian officials, the Russian withdrawal may have already begun. Several settlements in the region have already been cleared by Russian forces, Serhii Khlan, deputy head of the Kherson regional council, said at a news conference.
“The occupiers are now undermining absolutely all bridges on the right bank of the Kherson region. By doing this, the occupiers are preparing a retreat for themselves and trying to slow down the attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Khlan said. The most critical task for Russian forces as they withdraw, Khlan noted, is to “reinforce the points they are already making” along the Dnieper, in Kherson and towards the Kakhovka dam.
“Therefore, we can say that the de-occupation of the Kherson region has already actively started,” he added.
The withdrawal marks another major military setback for Russia. The city of Kherson is a key city in southern Ukraine and the only regional capital captured by Russia since it began its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
– Rocio Fabbro