Russia Withdraws From Ukraine’s Kherson: Why Retreat May Be Dangerous For Kyiv

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukraine citizens have started returning to Kherson following Russia withdrawal.
  • Ukrainian officials are worried about Russia's sudden withdrawal from Kherson.

LAGOS ( — Ukraine’s army has reclaimed Kherson city previously controlled by Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s forces withdrew from the region following a heavy loss sustained during a week of intense fighting.

Russia Withdraws From Ukraine's Kherson: Why Retreat May Be Dangerous For Kyiv
Ukraine citizens have started returning to Kherson following Russia’s withdrawal.

In detail, the new development represents one of the biggest military setbacks for the Kremlin since the war began. According to satellite images shared on social media, Ukrainian forces were seen reentering the liberated city.

Notably, the arrival of Ukraine’s military in the regional capital comes after Russia vacated the region including the Dnipro River. Ukraine citizens have also started returning to the city following Russia withdrawal. Many were seen celebrating by waving and raising Ukrainian flags as they returned to the region.

Ukraine citizens celebrating and waving flags as they returned to Kherson.
Ukraine citizens celebrating and waving flags as they returned to Kherson.

Recall that Russian troops recently suffered heavy defeat in Donetsk after a week of intense fighting in the eastern region of Ukraine. Notably, after the heavy defeat Putin’s forces started withdrawing from the region to restrategize. 

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that Moscow ordered a partial retreat from the region. Additionally, immediately after the announcement the minister on Friday announced that Russian forces have completed their withdrawal from Kherson city including the west of the Dnipro River.

“In the Kherson direction, the move of Russian military units to the left bank of the Dnieper River was completed at 05:00 [Moscow time] this morning. Not a single piece of military equipment or weaponry was left behind on the right bank.”

Why Retreat From Kherson May Be Dangerous For Ukraine

Putin’s government has indicated that Kherson city will remain part of Russia despite the army withdrawal. He emphasized that Russian forces’ withdrawal from Kherson city will not change the status of the region, which Moscow has proclaimed part of Russia after annexing it from Ukraine last month.

Recall that Russia claimed Kherson and three other Ukrainian regions after holding what it called referendums in September. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that the region’s status was “fixed” and that no changes were possible.

He indicated that Kherson is now a subject of the Russian Federation and cannot be reversed. “It is legally fixed and defined. There are no changes and there can be no changes,” Peskov said. It is worth noting that Kherson the largest Ukrainian city Russia had seized since the war began in late February.

Why Retreat From Kherson May Be Dangerous For Ukraine

Meanwhile, experts have warned Ukrainians against letting their guard down due to Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson. They called for caution as citizens start returning to the vacated region, noting that the evacuation could be a scheme by Kremlin.

In fact, some experts noted that Russia’s withdrawal could spell doom for Ukraine as it could result in the country losing the ongoing war. Professor Jerry Azebokhe an International Studies tutor posited that the move can stop countries from sending aid to Ukraine, which would invariably affect the resources available to Kyiv.

He argued that the new development is aimed at repairing their already destroyed image in the international system. Prof Azebokhe further noted that the withdrawal is pretentious and could result in another strategic attack or loss of support from the international community.

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Several military experts have also warned that Kremlin’s withdrawal decision could be another strategy that will have dire consequences. Additionally, Ukrainian military expert Oleh Zhdanov states that the retreat is nothing but a trap to lure Ukrainian forces and inflict massive losses on them. He further claimed Russian forces are disguised as civilians are holed up in Kherson’s areas to shoot at Ukrainian servicemen.

Top Ukrainian officials have also expressed concern over the new development. “Until the Ukrainian flag hovers over Kherson. It makes no sense to talk about the withdrawal of Russian troops,” presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said.

Top Ukrainian officials have also expressed concern over the new development.
Russia Withdraws From Ukraine

Germany To Discuss Russian War Crimes With G7

In a related development, German justice minister Marco Buschmann has noted that the country plans to discuss Russian war crimes prosecution with the Group of Seven (G7).

The Group of Seven (G7) represents the seven most industrialized nations. Notably, the prosecution will focus on ways to indict the country over suspected war crimes committed during the ongoing war. 

Buschmann noted that the country is currently searching for victims and their families harmed by Russia. He however noted that searching for suspects and identifying potential war crimes requires “an efficient network and international coordination.”

Buschmann will be joined by his counterparts from Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group is expected to meet on November 28-29 for the G20 conference in the German capital.

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