It was likely only a matter of time before Russian troops would be forced to abandon some of the major gains that they made in Ukraine, particularly as a number of soldier mutinies have humiliated the Kremlin in recent weeks.
The latest major defeat for Moscow comes to us from Kherson, where Russian leaders even went so far as to announce their embarrassing maneuver.
Russia announced Wednesday that it was withdrawing forces from Kherson, a key city in southern Ukraine, in what could turn out to be the most humiliating setback in President Vladimir Putin’s war.
Ukraine was skeptical, however.
Ukrainian officials remained cautious about the Russian forces’ intentions with some suggesting on social media that it was a trick but in televised comments, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said he was ordering the withdrawal of troops across the Dnieper River.
Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, proposed taking up defensive lines on the eastern bank of the river.
The announcement of the withdrawal followed weeks of Ukrainian advances toward the city and a race by Russia to relocate more than 100,000 of its residents.
Others were also concerned that it might be a trap.
Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed the move and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suggested that the Russians were laying a trap pullout from Kherson in order to lure Ukrainian forces into battle.
Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also expressed skepticism over Russia’s announcement.
As Putin and his troops continue to fail in Ukraine, and their desperation rises, there are renewed fears that the Kremlin could authorize the use of nuclear or chemical weapons to try and turn the tide of war – a move that would almost certainly usher in World War III.
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