MYKOLAIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia has relinquished its final foothold in a major city in southern Ukraine, clearing the way for victorious Ukrainian forces to reclaim the country’s only Russian-held provincial capital, which could act as a springboard for further advances into occupied territory.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops finished withdrawing from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s Kherson region early Friday.
The area they left included the city of Kherson, the only provincial capital Russia had captured during its nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the city was back in Ukrainian hands.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said an operation to liberate Kherson” and the surrounding region was underway.