A new map focusing on the southern region of Ukraine shows how Russia is abandoning territory in Kherson as Ukrainian forces move forward.
The Newsweek map shows how Ukrainian forces are pushing closer to the city of Kherson from the north and the northeast as of October 19.
Ukrainian troops coming from Mykolaiv have moved southeast toward Kherson, into areas that Russia has had only limited control over. Meantime, soldiers west of Nikopol have moved south to positions northeast of Kherson.
Ukrainian troops could be moving closer to retaking the city, according to a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) report. If recaptured it could be prove to be a tactical victory for Ukraine and an embarrassment for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Evidence of Russia preparing to retreat from the region has been circulating on Russian social media since October 10, according to the report.
Footage of a man wearing combat fatigues, posing on a river ferry alongside Russian military equipment was posted on Russian social media on October 10. Three days later, a video posted on the same account appeared to show the same ferry and equipment. The man, later identified as Makar Teplinskiy said in the video: “And we’re moving.”
The ferry appears to be part of an ongoing Russian pullback of soldiers and equipment from the right bank of the Dnieper River, in the southern Kherson region, according to conclusions reached by RFE/RL after pinpointing the image’s location using geolocation, satellite imagery and surrounding landmarks.
As well as soldiers and equipment, Russia is conducting an evacuation of civilians from the occupied Kherson region, according to a CNBC report.
Up to 60,000 civilians are expected to evacuate the region over the next few days from part of the Kherson region on the west bank of the Dnipo River. Those being told to evacuate have been told to travel to other Russia occupied regions.
Ukraine has likened the evacuation order to deportations and told residents not to comply.
Vladimir Saldo, the region’s Russian-installed acting governor, claimed that the evacuation was necessary as Ukraine was “building up forces for a large-scale offensive” and that Russia wanted to protect its citizens.
Saldo’s deputy Kirill Stremousov said on Telegram on Tuesday that the battle for Kherson is about to begin.
“Already about 15,000 residents, having listened to the recommendations of the leadership of the Kherson region, moved to the left bank of our region,” he said on Telegram according to a Google translation.
“Dear fellow countrymen, thank you for your trust. Remember, the life of each of you for us and for all of Russia is more than any material values. Trust me everything will be alright.
“The Kherson region has already been liberated from Nazism forever. The liberation of Nikolaev, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk regions is coming soon, but this will be a completely different country, history for our countrymen.”
Marina Miron, a research fellow in the Defense Studies Department’s Center for Military Ethics at King’s College London, reflected on the map as well as others she has seen regarding the movement in the region, saying: “The attack is underway but not full blown yet.”
Referencing a map of the region produced by Russian Telegram channel Rybar, she noted: “You can see movements from Nova Kamenka (in the north of Kherson) and in the southwestern part you have three vectors of attack.”
“The first is on the territory held by the UKR forces (Lymany, not to be confused with Lyman),” she said.
“The second goes to Soldatske (Soldatskoe) and Pravidno, the third goes towards Ternovy Pody (going to the north of TP).”
Newsweek has contacted Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs for comment.