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Russia orders troop withdrawal from Kherson, Ukraine

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A Ukrainian soldier enters a trench at the front line at the northern Kherson region on Monday. Russia announced Wednesday that is pulling troops from the area. Photo by Hannibal Hanschke/EPA-EFE
A Ukrainian soldier enters a trench at the front line at the northern Kherson region on Monday. Russia announced Wednesday that is pulling troops from the area. Photo by Hannibal Hanschke/EPA-EFE

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Russia ordered its troops Wednesday to leave the Ukrainian city of Kherson, the only regional capital Moscow captured since its invasion in February.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced he was ordering the withdrawal of troops across the Dnieper River. Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, said the troops could be relocated elsewhere.

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"We will save the lives of our soldiers and fighting capacity of our units. Keeping them on the right [western] bank is futile. Some of them can be used on other fronts," Surovikin said.

The withdrawal comes on the same day that Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy civilian administrator of the Kherson region, died in a car accident. According to NBC News, Stremousov had posted regular video updates on social media -- including while in vehicles moving at high speed -- about the situation on the front line.

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Ukrainian military officials said Wednesday that nearly 800 Russian soldiers were killed in fighting throughout the country over the past day.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops remained intense along the front line in the south and east.

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"The situation is difficult on the entire front," Zelensky said in his nightly address on Tuesday. "Fierce positional battles continue in some areas, as before. And it is especially difficult in the Donetsk region, as before.

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"The occupiers are suffering extremely large-scale losses, but their order to move to the administrative border of Donetsk region has not changed. We are not surrendering a single centimeter of our land there," he said.

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