Russian withdrawal from west-bank Kherson Oblast unlikely to be a trap – ISW

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Russia’s announced troop withdrawal from west of the Dnipro in Kherson Oblast is unlikely to be a trap to lure Ukraine into costly combat, as some Ukrainian and western officials have suggested, the Institute for Study of War says in its latest assessment.

ISW has previously observed many indicators that Russian forces, military and economic assets, and occupation elements have steadily withdrawn from the west bank across the Dnipro River, and Russian officials have been anticipating and preparing for withdrawal in a way that is incompatible with a campaign to deceive and trap Ukrainian troops. Russian commanders will certainly attempt to slow Ukrainian advances to maintain an orderly withdrawal, and some forces may remain to delay Ukrainian troops in Kherson City itself—but this fighting will be a means to the end of withdrawing as many Russian units as possible in good order,” ISW writes.

It notes that the Russian retreat is the result of a likely successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast, in which Ukrainian troops had purposefully and methodically targeted bridges and Russian communications and supply lines.

The battle of Kherson is not over, but Russian forces have entered a new phase—prioritizing withdrawing their forces across the river in good order and delaying Ukrainian forces, rather than seeking to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensive entirely,” ISW writes.

Russia announces troop withdrawal from western-bank Kherson Oblast

Russian military evacuates equipment out of Kherson Oblast, satellite images show

Retreating Russian troops blow up multiple bridges in occupied western-bank Kherson Oblast – media (updated)

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