CONCLUSION 6-Putin approves the evacuation of parts of the Ukrainian region of Kherson
(Adds more on military aid, Sullivan’s visit) *
Putin says the evacuation zone is dangerous *
Moscow moved people from Kherson *
24-hour curfew announced for the city of Kherson *
US sends more military aid, top officials visit Kyiv By Jonathan Landay and Tom Balmforth
FRONT LINE WEST OF KHERSON, Ukraine/kyiv, November 4 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday publicly endorsed the evacuation of civilians from parts of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region , the latest sign of Russia’s withdrawal in one of the most disputed areas. in Ukraine. “Now, of course, those who live in Kherson should be removed from the area of the most dangerous actions, because the civilian population should not suffer,” Putin told pro-Kremlin activists as he marked the Day of the national unity of Russia.
Moscow has already transported people out of an area it controls in Kherson on the west bank of the Dnipro, and announced this week that the evacuation zone would also include a 15 km buffer zone on the east bank. But the comments appear to be the first time Putin has personally endorsed the evacuations. Russia says it has brought residents to safety on the way to a Ukrainian advance. Kyiv claims the measures included forced deportations of civilians from Russian-occupied territory, a war crime, which Russia denies.
Putin’s comments came amid signs that Russia may be preparing to abandon its military base on the west bank of the Dnipro, including the regional capital of Kherson – potentially one of the biggest Russian retreats of the war. On Thursday, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-installed occupation administration in Kherson, said Russia was likely to withdraw its troops from the West Bank. In later remarks he was more equivocal, saying he hoped there would be no backsliding but “we have to make some very difficult decisions”.
CURFEW Images have circulated on the internet showing the main administrative building of the city of Kherson with the Russian flag no longer flying on it. Kyiv was suspicious, saying such signs could be a Russian deception to lure Ukrainian troops into a trap.
A 24-hour curfew was imposed on the city on Friday, Stremousov said, adding the measure was necessary to defend Kherson against a likely Ukrainian offensive. Ukrainian soldiers from a mechanized infantry company dug into a line of trees west of the city of Kherson were confident that the Russians would eventually retreat, but would fight back, auguring a battle potentially bloody for the city.
Vitalyi, 48, the company’s deputy commander, said recent Russian efforts to bolster their defenses appeared aimed at protecting a withdrawal rather than holding back Kherson. “They dug in all the fields,” he said, as his men took advantage of unusually mild weather to improve bunkers and clear their weapons amid intermittent artillery fire.
“They have large amounts of tanks and people, but I don’t think they have a realistic plan to stay longer than a week or two,” he said. One of his soldiers, Vladyslav, 27, said he expected the Russians to fight: “We will fight too. We have nowhere to go. This is our home. is our land.”
The regional capital, on the west bank at the mouth of the Dnipro, is the only major city Russia has captured intact since its invasion in February. His loss to Russian forces would be one of the most severe blows of the war. The surrounding province controls land access to Russian-occupied Crimea, and securing it was one of the few successes in an otherwise disastrous Russian campaign.
MORE US MILITARY ASSISTANCE AND OFFICIAL VISITS The United States announced $400 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine, including refurbishment of Czech Republic‘s T-72 tanks and missiles for HAWK air defenses that could be used against Russian drones and cruise missiles.
There were also funds to purchase 1,100 Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems and 40 armored riverboats, among other capabilities in the announcement, bringing the amount of US military aid sent to Kyiv to more than 18 .2 billion since the invasion. As the new assistance was announced, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, in Kyiv. Sullivan said Washington will continue to provide economic and humanitarian aid in addition to military aid with the support of Biden’s Democrats and opposition Republicans.
“We fully intend to make sure that the necessary resources are there and that we will get votes from both sides of the aisle to make this happen,” he told reporters during a briefing at the Ukrainian presidential administration. Sullivan’s visit to Kyiv came days before the US midterm elections in which Republicans have a good chance of taking control of Congress. It has raised concerns that close allies of former President Donald Trump, known for his ‘America First’ agenda, could cut or even block aid to Ukraine, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate. .
Sullivan’s visit came a day after Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Rob Portman traveled to the Ukrainian capital in a bid to signal bipartisan US support.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)