Russia to withdraw troops from key Ukrainian city Kherson, the only regional centre they had captured since invasion began, BBC reported.
The order from Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu came at a meeting in Moscow between Shoigu and the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin as the Ukrainian forces were making further advances towards Kherson city from two directions.
The Russian troops will be withdrawing from the west bank of the Dnipro river, an area that includes Kherson city, CNN reported citing Russian state media.
However, Ukrainian officials still seem to be sceptical of the situation.
The Kherson region is one of four provinces of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed and subsequently placed under Russian martial law.
The Russian military has concentrated much of its firepower on securing control of the others – Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia.
Meanwhile, the villages and towns in Ukraine saw more heavy fighting and shelling on Wednesday as Ukrainian and Russian forces strained to advance on different fronts after more than 8 1/2 months of war.
At least nine civilians were killed and 24 others were wounded in 24 hours, the Ukrainian president’s office said. It accused Russia of using explosive drones, rockets, heavy artillery and aircraft to attack eight regions in the country’s southeast.
(with agency inputs)