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Russian forces have been ordered to withdraw from the occupied city of Kherson, in what is a massive loss for Vladimir Putin's plans in Ukraine.
Kherson is the only regional centre the Russians had captured since their invasion in February, with their withdrawal being a huge blow to Russian morale.
The withdrawal means Putin's forces will pull back to the eastern bank of the River Dnipro, with Ukrainian forces regaining a large portion of the Kherson Oblast (regional unit) as part of their counter-offensive.
READ MORE: Fears Putin may 'escalate war' as Ukraine frontline is 'littered with Russian dead'
Russia's commander in Ukraine, Gen Sergei Surovikin, said it was no longer possible to keep supplying the city.
He told a meeting of senior military leaders: "The lives and health of our troops always take priority. Take into account the threat to the civilian population and respect the wishes of those who wish to leave. And secure the transfer of military equipment across the Dnipro.
"In these circumstances, the most sensible option is to organise the defence along a barrier line along the river Dnipro."
He added that the decision will save the lives of Russian military personnel and Russia's combat capability in the area.
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The announcement of the withdrawal came just a few hours after Russian deputy leader of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, had been killed in a car crash.
Seen as one of the main supporters of the occupation of Kherson, he had warned only last week that it was "most likely" that Russian forces would have to cross to the eastern bank of the river.
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