Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday ordered Russian troops to leave the right (western) bank of the Dnieper River and strengthen defense against Ukrainian offensives on the left bank.
Shoigu announced the decision after hearing a report from Sergei Surovikin, commander of Russia's joint group of forces in Ukraine, on the latest development of the special military operation.
"After a comprehensive assessment of the current situation, it is proposed to build up defense along the left bank of the Dnieper River," Surovikin told Shoigu.
The main part of the Kherson city is located on the right bank of the wide river, and Surovikin called it a difficult decision to withdraw but it would most importantly preserve lives and combat capability of the Russian forces.
He explained that although the Russian air defense has been successfully repelling Ukrainian shelling of Kherson, up to 20 percent of the rockets can still hit targets and the city and nearby settlements cannot be fully supplied.
Surovikin also expressed concerns that Ukraine's continuous shelling of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station on the Dnieper River could flood a large area downstream, causing many civilian casualties and isolating Russian troops on the right bank.
Shoigu demanded that Surovikin take all measures to ensure the safe relocation of the personnel, armaments and hardware behind the Dnieper River.
Following the withdrawal, Russian troops could be deployed to carry out offensives in other directions, Surovikin reported.
More than 115,000 people had been evacuated from the river's right bank in the Kherson region, Surovikin added, stressing that Russia's losses in the Kherson direction were significantly smaller than those of Ukraine.