3:18 pm ET, March 23, 2023
Ukraine says it misreported Russian withdrawal in Kherson as Moscow blames Kyiv for reporting
From CNN’s Tim Lister and Olga Wojtowicz
The Ukrainian military quickly retracted its claim that Russian forces had withdrawn from a strategic town in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region on Thursday, a statement that pro-Moscow leaders mocked Kiev.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces initially said in an update on Thursday that all Russian military units had withdrawn from the town of Nova Khakovka on the east bank of the Dnipro River.
It would mark a significant development as the first East Bank settlement of any size captured by Ukraine ousted Russian forces from Kherson And it captured the West Bank last November.
But the civil servants later withdrew the demand Report on Facebook: “The occupiers are still temporarily in Nova Kakovka. The information that the enemy allegedly withdrew from this settlement was made public as a result of the misuse of available data.
Russia slammed the statement: At the time of Ukraine’s withdrawal, Russian-appointed officials and military bloggers had already loudly denied Ukraine’s claims of military withdrawal from Nova Khakovka.
Vladimir Zalto, the Russian-appointed head of the occupied Kherson region, said “all Russian military personnel in Nova Khakovka and elsewhere on the east bank of the Dnipro River are in their positions.”
Zalto assumed the claim was linked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit For the region, he said, there was a “weak PR effect”.
Vladimir Leontiev, the pro-Russia leader at Nova Khakovka, called the claim false, saying it was “disinformation” and the work of propagandists.
Russian military correspondent Alexander Kotz He scoffed at the report on Telegram.
Recent developments in this area: Although Russia has fortified several settlements on the east bank of the river near Kherson, those near the Dnipro are subject to frequent attacks by Ukraine, including special forces raids.
Nova Khakovka is a significant territory to monitor in the fighting, as it is the site of a large hydroelectric project and the entrance to a canal that supplies Crimea with fresh water from the Dnipro River.
According to unofficial social media accounts, explosions rocked the city last weekend, and a fire broke out near or near the city’s grain elevator.
Some Telegram channels said a fuel dump with Russian military equipment was set on fire. Unable to verify those accounts.
In mid-March, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported that Ukrainian troops launched a massive artillery barrage in the Sokol area of Nova Khakovka, killing a woman and damaging homes, shops and power lines.