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Report: Russian Troops Begin Vacating Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Region

Report: Russian Troops Begin Vacating Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Region
A Ukrainian tank runs on a road near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 02 December 2022 05:26 PM EST

Russia is in the process of vacating its military forces from crucial positions in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region, according to a U.S.-based strategic think tank.

On Thursday, as part of its daily update, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) speculated Russia's troops withdrawal in the southeastern region could indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has doubts about holding the front lines in that part of Ukraine.

"It is just as likely that Russian forces are reorienting their grouping in Zaporizhia Oblast and may move different personnel back into these settlements," the ISW assessment noted.

The ISW reports that the Ukrainian General Staff also acknowledged the Russian troops filing out of Zaporizhzhia, along with military personnel leaving the Ukrainian cities of Polohy, Myhailivka, and Inzhenerne. 

"The potential withdrawal from Polohy is particularly notable as the settlement lies at a critical road junction, and Russian forces would likely have a harder time defending Tokmak from potential Ukrainian operations without control of that junction," according to the ISW assessment.

Also, the Ukrainian General Staff asserted that Russian occupation officials in Burchak were conducting a census in "preparation for future evacuation measures."

In recent weeks, the ISW reported on Ukrainian strikes against Russian troops in the areas of Myrny, Tokmak, Inzhenerny, Pologiv, Yasny, and Kinsky Rozdory in the Zaporizhzhia region.

That prompted military analysts to characterize the Russian troops' withdrawal as a means "to reduce the impact of increasing Ukrainian strikes on Russian manpower and equipment concentrations," according to Newsweek.

Even with the latest update, RIA Novosti, Russia's state-run news agency, reports the Russian military still controls more than 70% of that region.

Earlier this week, the Kremlin denied the Ukrainians' claims of a Russia withdrawal including the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility.

"There is no need to look for any signs where there are none and there cannot be," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a press gathering.

Back in early March, shortly after the Russia-Ukraine war launched, Russian forces initially occupied the Ukrainian nuclear plant to reportedly store equipment and ammunition.

On Friday, amid outside chatter of the United States brokering a cease-fire arrangement between Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin stated that Putin was "open to negotiations" — on the condition of all parties acquiescing to certain Russian demands.

Later on, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters President Joe Biden has no intention of talking to Putin — since there's no reason to accommodate the cease-fire demands at this time.

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Russia is in the process of vacating its military forces from crucial positions in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region, according to a U.S.-based strategic think tank.
ukraine, russia
415
2022-26-02
Friday, 02 December 2022 05:26 PM
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