Russian officials on Friday said they completed the withdrawal of troops and military equipment across the river dividing Ukraine’s southern Kherson region.
It was the only provincial capital that the Russians captured during their nine-month war with their neighbor.
A Russian defense ministry spokesman said the redeployment of Russian troops to the left bank of the Dnieper River was completed at about 5 a.m. Moscow time without the loss of any equipment.
“There were no losses in manpower or military equipment and material resources of the Russian group of forces,” Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, according to the official Russian TASS news agency.
Ukraine’s defense ministry confirmed its troops entered the city, a move that will likely be a major morale boost to the nation.
“Kherson returns under control of Ukraine,” the defense ministry announced in a statement. “Retreat paths of Russian occupants are under the fire control of the Ukrainian army. Any attempts to counter the armed forces of Ukraine will be prevented. Every Russian soldier who will resist will be destroyed.”
Russian military commanders left troops behind in civilian clothing to carry out acts of sabotage, Ukrainian officials said.
“You have only one chance to avoid death — surrender immediately,” the defense ministry’s intelligence directorate told the stay-behind Russian personnel.
Russian military officials said their troops have taken up defense positions across the river following their evacuation from Kherson. Gen. Konashenkov said Ukraine tried to disrupt the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson overnight.
“The Ukrainian armed forces conducted five attacks on Dnieper River crossings during the night using U.S.-made HIMARS multiple rocket launchers,” he said.