The Russian army withdraws from the city of Cherson. Ukrainian troops advanced to the center of the city. The flight of the Russians ended in chaos. All reports on the Ukraine war in the ticker.
10:35 p.m .: After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson, Ukrainian security forces have started clearing mines in the region. 2,000 explosive devices have already been defused, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday. He reported massive destruction in the region. “Before fleeing Kherson, the occupiers destroyed all critical infrastructure – communications, water supply, heating, electricity.”
According to the President, the Ukrainian troops have now recaptured around 60 towns in the Cherson region. Around 200 police officers were sent to Kherson to set up roadblocks and “document the crimes of the Russian occupiers,” police chief Igor Klymenko said.
Klymenko warned residents about the explosive devices left behind by Russian forces. A police officer was injured during a mine clearance in an administrative building in Kherson. According to police, a woman and two children were also injured in an explosion near their car in the village of Mylove in the Kherson region.
7:36 p.m .: After the troop withdrawal from the right bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson, the Russian occupiers have now also announced an evacuation of the dam city of Nowa Kakhovka on the other side of the river. The administration of Kakhovka is withdrawing to a safe place together with the citizens of the city, local crew chief Pavel Filipchuk said in a speech to the population on Saturday, according to the Russian state news agency TASS. He called on people in a defined zone of 15 kilometers to leave their homes.
It is feared that the dam could be destroyed by shelling and the area could be flooded. For weeks, Russians and Ukrainians have been accusing each other of planning such a provocation. Ukrainian forces have identified the Kakhovka administration as the “number one target for a terrorist attack” in the region, Filipchuk claimed. Ukraine rejects intentions of sabotage.
The lives of the people are in danger from hostilities, said Filipchuk. The people were to be taken to the southern Russian region of Krasnodar and cared for there. Filipchuk promised the fugitives warm accommodation, regular meals and 100,000 rubles (around 1,600 euros) in help. Ukraine accuses the occupiers of kidnapping people.
According to local reports, Ukrainian units had already advanced to the small town of Beryslav near the dam. On Friday, Russia declared the announced withdrawal from the western bank of the Dnipro River to be complete. Accordingly, the Russian soldiers withdrew to the area east of the river.
4:41 p.m .: Shortly after the Ukrainian soldiers hoisted their flag in central Cherson, there were several indications that the military was already planning the next offensive. The New York Times reports that Ukraine is preparing for a new offensive in the Zaporizhia region. The industrial city of Melitopol, more than 70 kilometers from the front, could be the target of the troops. The Ukrainian government has already contradicted the opinion of many analysts that the war could stagnate in the cold winter.
“The logic of war is not to pause and somehow advance further,” said Senior Lieutenant Andriy Mikheichenko, commander of an anti-tank unit defending the embattled city of Bakhmut in eastern Donbass. “I think that there will be counterattacks in other directions, so the enemy will not have time to move reserves and block attacks.
There are reports of rocket attacks on Russian troops near Melitopol and Henichesk. So said Chuck Pfarrer, a former member of the U.S. Navy SEALs that he believes Melitopol is the next target and told a Ukrainian NGO that he was confident Ukraine could retake more territory in the coming months.
Other analysts point out that an offensive in the Zaporizhia region would pause the Ukrainian advance in Kherson, according to the New York Times. Because the Dnipro River is too wide. In addition, numerous bridges are damaged and destroyed, most recently the Antonivka Bridge in the city of Cherson, so they would rather expect the front to remain on the river bank.
4 p.m.: After withdrawing from the southern Ukrainian regional capital of Cherson, the Russian occupiers have relocated their regional administrative center to the part of the region of the same name that they still control. A large part of the Russian administration has already been relocated to the city of Henichesk, Russia’s state news agencies reported on Saturday, citing a spokesman for the Cherson occupation administration.
Henichesk is located in the very southeast of Cherson on the Azov Sea and only a few dozen kilometers from the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed back in 2014.
Saturday, November 12, 3:30 p.m.: After the Russian withdrawal from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, Ukrainian soldiers secure the city, clear mines and explosives, and search for Russian soldiers who may be hiding in houses. It is not yet clear how many soldiers were left behind in the chaotic Russian retreat, according to the New York Times. Ukraine’s military intelligence service said on Saturday that soldiers were still in permanent defensive positions and it was unclear whether they would fight, flee or surrender.
The spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command said some Russian soldiers were actively fighting with Ukrainian troops in and around the city. She added that Ukrainian forces were “a stone’s throw” from the Russians, who were fortifying their positions across the Dnipro River. This makes the Kiev troops vulnerable to artillery fire. The Ukrainian military also reported fighting in towns and villages outside of Kherson, including around a key dam in the town of Nova Kakhovka.
4:08 p.m .: According to media reports, there are still some Russians in the city even after the Russian withdrawal from Cherson. “Russians are taking off their military uniforms, throwing them in the bins and trying to mingle with the locals,” Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense ministry, told the BBC. “We urge them to surrender, save their lives and not do anything stupid,” he added.
4:05 p.m .: Shortly after the withdrawal of its own troops from the Ukrainian regional capital of Cherson and other places, Russia says it has started attacks on the region that has just been abandoned. “Currently, troops and military equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces are being shelled on the right bank of the Dnipro River,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday.
Just a few hours earlier, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced that all Russian units in the southern Ukrainian region had been moved to the left bank of the river. According to information from Moscow, there are more than 30,000 soldiers in total who are now stationed south-east of the Dnipro.
The Ukrainian side had already prepared for attacks on the places that had just been recaptured. The press secretary of the southern command of the Ukrainian army, Nataliya Humenyuk, said on television on Friday that the armed forces expected “massive shelling” of Kherson. This is due to the proximity of the Russians’ new line of defense on the opposite bank of the Dnipro, she said.
12:42 p.m.: Ukrainian forces have reportedly reached the center of the city of Kherson. This is reported by the British “Guardian”. The Russian withdrawal is proving increasingly chaotic. A Russian soldier tells the newspaper that some units have been ordered to flee by any means possible.
A member of the Kherson regional council told Reuters that almost the entire city is under the control of Ukrainian forces. Residents are advised to stay home while the search continues for the Russian troops still in the city. Some of them are said to have drowned trying to escape in the Dnipro River.
11:56 a.m .: During their retreat, Russian troops are said to have blown up the important Antonivka Bridge over the Dnipro River, which was recently badly damaged by Ukrainian shelling. It is now finally impassable, according to eyewitness accounts. An initially unverifiable video was shown on social networks, which is said to show a recording of a heavy explosion.
According to a Russian milblogger, the Russians blew up the bridge at 5 a.m. There was artillery fire throughout the night, a resident told the New York Times. Much of the fire appeared to be aimed at Russian convoys attempting to cross the Antonivsky Bridge, the main crossing out of the city.
Several recordings then showed that a section of the bridge was already missing. The bridge connects the two banks of the Dnipro. Other videos show Russian soldiers crossing the river on foot using a pontoon bridge. The massive damage to important bridges meant that Moscow could no longer transport military equipment and food to the Russian-occupied areas west of the river. Residents of the city also report that there were still some Russians in the city.
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