Russia orders military withdrawal from Ukraine's Kherson city

i24NEWS - AFP

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Russian soldier guards an administrative area of Khersonvodokanal in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine.
AP Photo, FileRussian soldier guards an administrative area of Khersonvodokanal in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine.

This comes shortly after the death of Moscow-installed deputy head of Ukraine's southern Kherson region

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered a military withdrawal from Ukraine's Kherson city, announced Wednesday. 

"Begin to pull out troops," Shoigu said during a televised meeting. The commander of the Russian troops in Ukraine, Sergei Surovikin, proposed organizing defense along the left bank of the Dnipro river, with Shoigu agreeing. 

However, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhaylo Podolyak said shortly after that Kyiv saw "no signs" that Russian forces are withdrawing from the southern city.

"We see no signs that Russia is leaving Kherson without a fight," Podolyak wrote on Twitter, suggesting the announcement could be a ploy and calling the order from Russia's defense minister a "staged TV statement."

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This came shortly after the Moscow-installed deputy head of Ukraine's southern Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, died in a car crash. 

Stremousov, 45, was one of the highest-profile officials in Ukraine supporting Moscow's offensive. His aide, speaking to AFP, confirmed his death.

"I confirm the death of Kirill Sergeyevich," the aide said, referring to Stremousov by his first name and patronymic.

Kherson's Russian-appointed acting governor, Vladimir Saldo, called his passing "tragic," saying his car got into an accident in the region.

Saldo called Stremousov one of the "brightest" people he has known and said he leaves behind five children, with a sixth due soon.

Russian forces have for weeks organized evacuation of Kherson residents to Russia and other Moscow-controlled regions, which Kyiv has condemned as mass deportation.

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