LIVE TEXT War in Ukraine, Day 261. Ukrainian forces enter Kherson after Russia completes withdrawal / Japanese killed at front / 5-story building in Mykolaiv attacked by invaders, causing casualties / Bridge over Dnipro , destroy

UPDATE 16:00 Ukrainian forces have entered the city of Kherson

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate made the comment in a statement to all Russian troops still in Kherson, telling them to surrender immediately.

This statement is kyiv’s first official confirmation that its forces are in Kherson.

In the morning, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had completed the withdrawal of troops from the west bank of the Dnipro, in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, writes Reuters.

In its daily briefing, the ministry said all forces and equipment had been transferred to the eastern bank of the Dnieper. The withdrawal was completed at 05:00 Moscow time (02:00 GMT) on Friday morning.

UPDATE 14:00 The Ukrainian flag reappears in the center of Kherson

After eight months of occupation, the Ukrainian flag reappeared in the center of the city of Kherson, wrapped around a monument, probably raised by a few active supporters in the city, according to Nexta TV.

UPDATE 1:00 PM Kremlin responds to Biden: Conflict ends when goals are achieved

“The special military operation in Ukraine can end with the achievement of its objectives or with the achievement of the objectives through peace negotiations, which is possible.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this in response to US President Joe Biden, who said the conflict in Ukraine “will not end until Putin leaves the country”.

UPDATE 12:30 Kremlin: Putin will not be at G20 due to internal commitments

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision not to attend the G20 summit in Bali, either face-to-face or online, is due to “commitments” in the country, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry said. Peskov, quoted by TASS.

UPDATE 12:00 Moscow: Kherson remains Russian territory

The Kherson region will remain part of Russia, despite the withdrawal of Muscovite troops from the city. “There are and there cannot be changes” in this regard, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by TASS as saying.

UPDATE 11:00 Zelensky: Mykolaiv attack is cynical response to our successes

Attack on building in Mykolaiv is ‘the cynical response of the terrorist state to our successes on the front’, according to the opinion of the Ukrainian president, who refers to Russia and the attack which hit a building 5-storey residential building overnight, causing at least 6 deaths, according to the latest report. “Russia does not give up its contemptuous tactics. And we will not give up our fight. The occupiers will be held responsible for any crimes against Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

UPDATE 10:40 Building in Mikolaiv hit by Russians, at least 4 dead

At least 4 people have died as a result of Russian shelling on Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. A five-story residential building near the front line was hit and “unfortunately there are already four dead”, regional governor Vitalii Kim said.

UPDATE 10:10 Russian Ambassador to US: Stop destabilizing

The United States must avoid “further destabilization” of the situation in Ukraine and “explain to its clients in Kyiv that the military duel with Russia is fatal”, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said in a statement. interview with Izvestia. As for relations between the United States and Russia, they “are in a deep crisis and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel”, added the diplomat in the interview carried by the Tass agency.

UPDATE 10:10 Kyiv: Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson lasts a week

The withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson will take at least a week, said Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, saying that Moscow still had soldiers in and around the city: “It is not so easy to withdraw these troops from Kherson in a day or two. . At least it will last a week,” he said.

UPDATE 09:40 Kyiv, Russians loot and destroy Kherson during retreat

“The Russian invaders continue to loot the settlements from which they are withdrawing. In addition, the enemy is trying to damage as much as possible the power lines and other elements of the transport and critical infrastructure of the Kherson Oblast”, informs the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on social networks, explaining that “the forced evacuation of the inhabitants continues. In the village of Zelenivka “the enemy has forbidden the inhabitants to move inside the colony and restructure the system of defensive lines. In Tiahinka and Kozatki, the occupiers have undermined roads and infrastructure elements,” say the Ukrainians.

UPDATE 09:20 Japanese pro-Kyiv fighter died in action

A 20-year-old Japanese man who fought alongside Ukrainian soldiers died in a battle against Russian forces, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said. He is the first Japanese citizen to die in Ukraine “since the invasion began in February”. Japanese diplomats are “contacting the family and providing necessary assistance,” Matsuno added. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has openly invited foreigners to come to the country to join an “international legion” that will fight alongside Ukrainians against Russians.

UPDATE 08:20 Wsj: US to buy arms from South Korea for Kyiv

South Korea will sell artillery shells to the Ukrainian army for the first time following a confidential agreement between Seoul and the United States, a decision that confirms a global run on munitions after months of war with Russia. US officials reveal to the Wall Street Journal that the US will purchase 100,000 155mm artillery shells which will then be delivered to Ukraine; enough to supply Kyiv’s artillery units for several weeks of intense fighting.

The weapons purchased from South Korea will allow the United States to continue to help Ukraine without drawing more from its stockpile of weapons. Just hours ago, the Biden administration announced a new $400 million package and since the Russian invasion began last February, it has sent $18 billion in military assistance.

In August last year, stocks of 155mm artillery shells fell to levels that “worried” the Pentagon, the sources added. The agreement with Seoul was reached in early November by South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

UPDATE 05:15 Governor: Russia hits energy infrastructure in Vinnytsia region

Vinnytsia region governor Serhii Borzov reported that Russian troops targeted energy infrastructure in the region overnight.

There were no casualties, according to the governor. Emergency services and firefighters were called to the scene.

UPDATE 03:55 Ukrainian army scores new victories in the south of the country

The Southern Operational Command reports that the Ukrainian army killed 50 Russian soldiers and destroyed three tanks, an Msta-S self-propelled howitzer and 11 front-line armored vehicles.

The command also reported that Russia has only 17 Black Sea ships left with Kalibr cruise missiles on board.

UPDATE 02:50 Ukraine’s Security Service has dismantled a complex network of Russian collaborators

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has so far debunked about 700 pro-Kremlin collaborators, 53 of whom have already been sentenced, SBU spokesman Artem Dekhtiarenko told a press briefing .

“Charges have been filed under Article 111-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine,” the official said.

UPDATE 01:50 Russia checks its bomb shelters

Russian workers are quietly checking basements and other unused Soviet-era shelters, people familiar with the effort told Bloomberg. Inspections and cleanings of civil defense units, which were usually built in the basements of hospitals, apartment buildings, schools and government offices in Soviet times, take place in cities across the country, the sources said.

Summary of the day

  • Ukrainian troops recovered dozens of mined settlements after the Russian army withdrew.
  • The Ukrainian army has liberated 41 settlements as it advances south.
  • The Ukrainians are cautious, fearing that the Russian withdrawal will be a race.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the Group of 20 (G20) leaders’ meeting next week but could participate virtually, officials from Russia and host country Indonesia have said.
  • The United States does not pressure Ukraine to engage in diplomatic actions with Russia.

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