War against Ukraine: circles: Russian troops prepare withdrawal from Cherson

According to Western security circles, Russia is preparing to withdraw its troops from the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson.

War against Ukraine: circles: Russian troops prepare withdrawal from Cherson

According to Western security circles, Russia is preparing to withdraw its troops from the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson. The Russians may have decided that "the city is not worth the fight," a senior Western government official said Thursday in a background briefing to journalists.

However, it is always possible that the military leadership will change its mind at short notice, even if everything currently points to a withdrawal, he said.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed confidence that Ukrainians can still retake Russian-held areas on the western side of the Dnipro River and around the city of Kherson. "I think they're capable of that," Austin said Thursday in Washington. "Most importantly, Ukrainians themselves believe they can do it," he added.

Austin: Ukrainians can retake area around Kherson

The US is playing a central role in supplying arms and other aid to Ukraine in defense against Russia's war of aggression, which has been ongoing since February.

Located on the right bank of the Dnipro, Cherson was captured by Russia at the very beginning of the war of aggression. At the end of September, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin officially annexed Cherson as one of four Ukrainian regions for Russia. At the same time, the situation of the Russian troops west of the river has deteriorated significantly. The Ukrainian troops systematically destroyed the Russian supply routes across the Dnipro and advanced further towards the city in their counter-offensive in early October.

Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners

It also became known on Thursday that Ukraine and Russia have once again exchanged prisoners of war. This time, 107 officers and soldiers on each side were released, as announced by Kyiv and Moscow. Among the Ukrainians are 74 soldiers who defended the Azov steelworks in the port city of Mariupol in the spring, Andriy Yermak, the head of the Presidential Office in Kyiv, told the Telegram news channel. Among those returning from the war were some seriously injured with infected wounds, mutilated limbs and burns.

The Moscow Ministry of Defense, in turn, announced that the Russian soldiers were in "mortal danger" in Ukrainian captivity. They were flown to Moscow for treatment in military hospitals. Ukraine also assured its soldiers that they would receive any help. In the Russian war of aggression, which has been going on for more than eight months, Moscow and Kyiv have already exchanged prisoners several times.

"Many of our people were wounded back in March," said Yermak, who also published a video and photos with some of the freedmen. "The state will do everything to help them." Among the injured is a fighter who survived the heavy explosion in the Olenivka prison camp near Donetsk in July.

According to Yermak, Ukrainian soldiers have been held captive in the Russian camp since May. There, more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners were killed in an explosion. Russia claims a Ukrainian missile hit the prison barracks. However, Ukraine believes that a bomb was deliberately detonated in the building.

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