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Russia says it’s withdrawing from Kherson; Ukraine has been skeptical

Russia’s military announces that it is withdrawing from Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson and nearby areas, in what would be another humiliating setback for Moscow’s forces in the eight-month-old war.

Ukrainian authorities do not immediately confirm the move — and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suggested in recent days that the Russians were feigning a pullout from Kherson in order to lure the Ukrainian army into an entrenched battle. Zelenskyy called attempts to convince civilians to move deeper into Russian-controlled territory “theater.”

The top Russian military commander in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, has reported to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that it is impossible to deliver supplies to the city of Kherson and other areas on the western bank of the Dnieper River that it lies on. Shoigu agreed with his proposal to retreat and set up defenses on the eastern bank.

The city, with a prewar population of 280,000, is the only regional capital to be captured by Russian forces since the Feb. 24 invasion began.

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