Biden Points to Problems in Russian Troop Withdrawal from Kherson

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According to Biden, the Kherson retreat demonstrates that the Russian military has “real problems.”  The US president points to setbacks in Vladimir Putin’s war machine, but Zelenskiy urges caution.

U.S. President Joe Biden takes questions from reporters, after he delivered remarks in the State Dining Room, at the White House on November 09, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden spoke about the mid term elections, control of house and senate in 2023, and the administrations achievements during the past two years of office. [Samuel Corum/Getty Images]

President Biden speculates on the difficulties facing the Russian military

Russia’s personnel withdrawal from Kherson demonstrated that its military faces “real problems,” according to US President Joe Biden. At the same time, his Ukrainian counterpart urged restraint and cautioned his men that a fight loomed ahead.

In response to Ukrainian assaults, Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, ordered his forces to withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River in a televised announcement on Wednesday. General Sergei Surovikin, who oversees Russia’s war operations, described the choice as “extremely painful” but conceded that “Kherson cannot be adequately supplied and function.”

In Washington, Biden said the news illustrated the gravity of Moscow’s problems. “It’s evidence that they have real problems, Russia, the Russian military,” the US president told reporters. Regarding the announcement’s timing, he added, “I find it odd that they waited until after the US midterm election to make that judgment.”

Ukraine has responded cautiously, stating that some Russian military remains in Kherson and that more Russian personnel are being deployed to the region.

Volodymyr Zelensky sought restraint in his national address on Wednesday night, despite “a great deal of excitement in the media space today,” saying: “The enemy does not bring us gifts, does not make ‘gestures of goodwill.’ So we’re fighting our way up.

“And when you’re fighting, you must recognize that every stride is always resistance from the enemy, always the cost of our soldiers’ lives.”

“As a result, we proceed cautiously, without emotion and needless risk.” In the sake of liberating our entire country and minimizing losses.”

“It makes no sense to talk about a Russian pullout until the Ukrainian flag is flying above Kherson,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Zelensky.

He tweeted, “We see no signs that Russia is leaving Kherson without a fight.”

Another leading presidential aide, Oleksiy Arestovych, said Moscow’s objectives remained a mystery. “They are moving out, but not as much as if it was a full pullout or regrouping,” he stated in a video uploaded on Telegram on Wednesday night.

“We don’t know their plans: will they fight us or try to take Kherson? “So they’re moving extremely slowly,” he added.

Mark Milley, the US’s chief general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said preliminary indications suggested Russia was withdrawing from Kherson, but he cautioned that it may take time.

Hollywood actor and film director Sean Penn (not seen) meets Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyas he hands over his own statuette âOscar❠to the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, Ukraine on November 08, 2022. [Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Estimated number of casualties

“It won’t take them a day or two to pull those soldiers south of that river,” Milley added, estimating that Russia had 20,000 to 30,000 troops stationed in the region north of the Dnipro River.

Milley further estimated that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded in Ukraine, and Kyiv’s armed forces “probably” incurred similar casualties.

His observations represent the largest US estimate of casualties in the nearly nine-month conflict to date and come as Ukraine and Russia confront a potential winter respite in fighting that analysts say could provide an opportunity for some form of talks.

When asked about the prospects for negotiation in Ukraine, Milley noted that the failure to negotiate early in the First World War deepened human misery and resulted in millions more casualties. “So, when there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace may be established, seize the moment,” Milley told the Economic Club of New York.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia’s withdrawal was “part of an overarching pattern,” proving that Moscow “has lost the impetus.”

“It’s part of an overall pattern or picture we’ve seen over the last month that Russia has lost impetus,” he told Sky News during a visit to London.

“But we should not underestimate Russia; they still have the capacity,” he added. “We’ve witnessed the drones and the missile attacks. It demonstrates that Russia is still capable of causing significant damage.”

The chairman of the Wagner private military firm and Ukraine war hawk, Yevgeny Prigozhin, defended Surovikin’s decision to withdraw, saying: “The decision taken by Surovikin is not simple, but he acted like a guy who is not frightened of responsibility.” He handled it methodically and fearlessly, taking full responsibility for decision-making.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin speeches during the award ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) at the State Kremlin Palace, November 9, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. President Putin is expected to skip the G20 Leaders Summit and APEC Summit this November. [Contributor/Getty Images]

Stinging blow

The announcement was also foreseen by Russia’s influential war bloggers, who regarded it as a painful blow.

“We will leave the city, no matter how terrible it is to write about it now,” said the War Gonzo blog, which has over 1.3 million Telegram members. “Yes, this is a dark chapter in the history of the Russian army.” Of the Russian state. A terrible page.”

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov praised Surovikin’s action as “the difficult but appropriate option between mindless sacrifices for the sake of loud speeches and saving the irreplaceable lives of soldiers.”

Ukrainian victory in Kherson will be a severe blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, coming only weeks after a high-profile ceremony in Moscow in which he announced the “forever” annexation of the Kherson region, along with three other regions.

Kherson was the only regional capital Russia occupied following its February invasion, and it has been the focus of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

The city controls the only land route to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia acquired in 2014, and the mouth of the Dnipro, which bisects Ukraine.

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