Putin Is Already Planning A Mass Withdrawal
(PatriotWise.com) – According to an American think tank, Russia is likely planning a mass withdrawal from the southern Kherson region of Ukraine to avoid another “devastating rout” like the one in Kharkiv in September.
The Institute for the Study for War believes Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kherson will likely set conditions for Moscow to remove “military and occupation elements” from the western bank of the Dnieper River.
Ukraine has been pushing its counteroffensive in the region in recent weeks with its forces taking back settlements along the western bank of the Dnieper since early September.
Two weeks ago, pro-Russian officials and residents began leaving Kherson as authorities said they planned to transport between 50,000 and 60,000 to the Dnieper River’s eastern bank.
The Institute for the Study of War cited unverified Telegram posts from Kherson that claimed Russian forces had disbanded, looting a fire station for trucks and stealing civilian cars to ferry them across the Dnieper River to Hola Prystan.
The institute also noted that the Ukrainian broadcast of Radio Free Europe reported that Russian forces were moving military equipment from the western bank to the eastern bank of the Dnieper as Ukrainian forces advance on the region.
According to the institute, these reports imply that Russian troops are likely removing personnel and equipment from the western bank of the Dnieper. It assessed that the Russians likely learned the failures from their panicked retreat from Kharkiv which Ukraine recaptured during a counteroffensive in northeast Ukraine in September.
In its assessment, the institute said withdrawing from the western bank to avoid “another devasting route” is the “militarily sensible thing.”
On October 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law introducing martial law in the four Ukrainian regions he formally annexed, including Kherson.
Russia’s new commander of the army in Ukraine, General Sergei Surovikin, told the state-run news channel Rossiya 24 that the situation in Kherson “is not easy” and “hard decisions must be made.”
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