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Russian Flag Disappears from Kherson Administration in First Signal of Potential Retreat

The Kherson regional administration building.

The Russian flag hanging in front of the regional administration in Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region has been taken down, pro-Russian Telegram channels said Thursday.

“I drove up to the building of the former government of the Kherson region; I confirm that there is no [Russian] flag over it,” pro-Kremlin war correspondent Alexander Kots said on his Telegram channel.

The Russian flag is still hanging at nearby buildings, he added. 

Kherson’s Russian-installed administration has been evacuating tens of thousands of civilians to the left bank of the Dnipro River in the regional capital of the same name amid an advancing Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The flag’s removal is the first indication that the Russian military may be preparing to abandon the city of Kherson, the only regional capital that Moscow has captured in its eight-month invasion. 

Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of Kherson’s Moscow-installed administration, warned that Russian troops could move to the left bank of the Dnipro River in the coming days. 

“Most likely, our units, our troops will go to the left bank part of the Kherson region,” Stremousov told Russian state television.

After capturing the city of Kherson just days into the invasion, Russian positions north of the river have grown increasingly vulnerable in recent months. Ukraine’s forces have strategically targeted the key bridges over the mammoth waterway, choking Russia’s supply lines to the city. 

Footage Wednesday appeared to show six Ukrainian artillery strikes, likely carried out by U.S.-supplied HIMARS systems, on a Russian-built pontoon bridge running parallel to the Antonivsky Bridge 10 kilometers east of Kherson city, further cutting off Russian supply lines. 

Retaking Kherson city, which remains largely intact despite the fighting across the region, would be a major coup for Kyiv.

Ukraine's counteroffensives have retaken thousands of square kilometers in the south and east of the country in the past two months.

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