Russia has completed the withdrawal of troops from the mainland of Kherson, Ukraine’s strategic and only Russian-held provincial capital. Moscow said it was completed on Friday. Ukraine says it has recovered dozens of landmine-strewn settlements abandoned by the Russians. Reuters news.

Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has completed the withdrawal of troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River. It did so just two days after Moscow announced its withdrawal.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, but the announcement appeared to contradict Ukrainian reports. Because thousands of Russian troops are still on the west side of the river.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told Reuters on Thursday that it would take at least a week for Russia to withdraw from Kherson. According to his estimates, Russia still has 40,000 troops in the region. Citing intelligence, he also said that Russian forces still remained in and around the city.

Ukrainian forces advanced south and liberated 41 settlements, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a speech, marking one of the fastest and most dramatic shifts in control in the nearly nine-month war.

The Ukrainian governor of Kherson, Yaroslav Yanushevich, posted a video on Telegram. The video shows soldiers of the 59th Motorized Brigade retaking Blahodatn, a village about 20 km from the outskirts of Kherson. There they waved the Ukrainian flag.

Reuters representatives visited a village called Posad Pokrovsky. They saw destroyed buildings in the village and a wrecked truck sitting on the highway to Kherson marking the eastern front line.

Also houses and buildings on both sides of the road were burnt to ashes by shellfire and branches hanging from tree trunks along the highway were broken. Ukrainian soldiers manning checkpoints past Ukrainian military vehicles.

(11 November)