Are Ukrainian Forces Advancing On Kherson City?: Reports from local media on Thursday suggested that Ukrainian troops were beginning to advance in Kherson city, even after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that his military would not advance too quickly following Russia’s retreat.
Here’s Surovikin telling Shoigu about the Kherson retreat, which he says is to “preserve the lives of our troops and the combat readiness of our units […] the civilian population could be in danger and our group of forces on the right bank of the Dnipro could be isolated.” pic.twitter.com/ac1uGmWesV
— max seddon (@maxseddon) November 9, 2022
When the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kherson city was announced on Russian state television, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter that it was a “staged” announcement and that there was no evidence Russian forces were planning on retreating without a fight.
During this week’s televised announcement, Russian Armed Forces army general Sergey Surovikin told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that the retreat was necessary to “preserve the lives of our troops and the combat readiness of our units.”
Surovikin also claimed that the civilian population might be in danger in the region, a defense of the evacuation of more than 70,000 civilians, and said that the Russian forces on the right bank of the Dnieper River risked being isolated.
Is Ukraine Advancing?
Twitter war tracker account WarMonitor claimed on Thursday that “Ukrainian special forces have entered Kherson city according to Russian sources.”
The same account also revealed that small arms fire could be heard in Kherson city, but noted the claim was unconfirmed.
Several Russian and Ukrainian Telegram channels claim that Ukrainian forces took back control of Chernobaivka and entered Kherson city, and have since begun engaging in firefights with Russian forces.
One Ukrainian Telegram channel warned Kherson residents to stay in their homes and shelters, citing the worsening conflict in the city.
“Kherson residents, please do not leave your homes, be in shelters! Active hostilities are currently underway,” the account warns.
While it may be true that Ukrainian forces have entered the city, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Ukraine is making a full-scale advancement. Special forces could well be scoping out the area and checking to see whether Russian forces have abandoned the city as they say they have.
Special forces may also be checking the area for mines, traps, and hidden weapons. Their presence in the city could well prove dangerous, as Russian forces may also be planning missile and drone strikes in the area as Russian forces retreat. If that were to take place, it could explain why Russian forces evacuated tens of thousands of civilians from the city – although civilian presence has not dissuaded Russian forces from launching extensive missile strike campaigns before.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.