BREAKING: Ukrainian Forces Liberate Kherson

On 11 November 2022, Ukrainian Forces liberated the city of Kherson. Ukrainian columns arrived in the morning and reached the city’s town square by the early afternoon (local time). Major advances also occurred across the entirety of Kherson Oblast with some Russian forces possibly still remaining near Antonovsky bridge and Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (and bridge).

Current reports indicate that Ukrainian forces have been meeting almost no resistance in their advances towards Kherson on 11 November; Ukrainian media reported that it was actually Ukrainian locals coming out to greet and hug soldiers that did the most to slow the liberation of the city.

In the first 24 hours since Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu publicly authorized the withdrawal of Russian forces on 9 November, Ukrainian forces have made significant and steady gains in the region, penetrating previously Russian-held territory to a depth of up to 7 kilometers. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces seemed to have been withdrawing in relatively good order. The events of the 10th were followed up by an official Russian Ministry of Defense statement made in the early hours of Friday, November 11th:

“Today at 5 o’clock in the morning Moscow time (0200 GMT), the transfer of Russian troops to the left bank of the Dnipro River was completed. Not a single piece of military equipment and weapons was left on the right bank.”

However, despite Russian reassurances of a successful evacuation, significant speculation remains over how many troops actually crossed the river. Moreover, considering the massive strain on Russian river-crossing logistics, it is highly doubtful that the evacuation of equipment was nearly as successful as Russian sources claim. Earlier today, it was confirmed that the strategically vital Antonovsky bridge – the most significant bridge over the Dnieper in Kherson Oblast, had collapsed. Some residents of Kherson had also claimed that a number of Russian soldiers remain in the city wearing civilian clothes.

The collapsed Antnovsky bridge

These reports seem to be confirmed by Ukrainian Military Intelligence statements directed at Russians urging them to surrender. These roughly translate to:

“Russian soldiers!

As expected, after the retreat of the main group of Russian army troops from the Ukrainian Kherson, your command abandoned you to your fate.+Your commanders urge you to dress in civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson on your own. Obviously you can’t do this.

Kherson returns under control of Ukraine, parts of Ukrainian Armed Forces enter the city. Retreat paths of Russian occupants are under the fire control of the Ukrainian army. Any attempts to counter the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be prevented. Every Russian soldier who will resist will be destroyed.

You have only one chance to avoid death – to surrender immediately.”

Russia has also seemingly taken steps to detach Putin from the latest disaster. When asked for comment, the Kremlin spokesperson declined and instead told media to ask the Ministry of Defense.

This development comes just two days after Russia announced its withdrawal from the left bank of the Dnieper river. Kherson, with a pre-war population of 280,000, was the only Ukrainian regional capital captured during the opening phases of Russia’s full scale invasion and arguably the most significant city to fall to Russian forces.

11 November also saw the US announcing a new major military aid package to Ukraine worth $400 million dollars. The package includes Avenger and HAWK air defense systems, 100 Humvees, cold weather gear, tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition, HIMARS ammo, and over 20,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

Header image: via @NOELreports