Gen Sergei Surovikin from Russia, the commander in Ukraine, stated that it was impossible to continue supplying the city.
Russian forces will withdraw completely from the west bank of the River Dnipro in order to complete their withdrawal.
This is a major blow for Russia as it faces a counter-offensive from Ukraine.
Russian state TV broadcast the military’s top brass making the announcement, while Gen Surovikin reported on the situation in Kherson.
The staged event was not attended by President Vladimir Putin. The announcement appeared to have been made by the architect of Russia’s failed war in Ukraine.
Putin was the one who announced Russia’s annexed Kherson and three other occupied areas at the end September.
“In these circumstances the best option is to organise defense along a barrier line alongside the river Dnipro,” Gen. Surovikin stated.
Officials in Ukraine were cautious about the decision to withdraw across the Dnipro River.
On Wednesday night, President Volodymyr Zilensky stated that Kyiv was “very carefully” moving after the announcement.
He said, “The enemy doesn’t give us gifts or make goodwill gestures, but we win it all.”
“We are therefore moving with great care, without emotion, and without taking unnecessary risks, in order to liberate all our land, and make the losses as minimal as possible.”
His adviser Mykhailo podolyak stated earlier that actions speak louder than words.
Rumours and reports that Russia would be leaving Kherson circulated throughout the week. Soldiers at a Ukrainian post on the perimeter of Kherson suggested that the enemy may be trying to trap them.
According to the commander of Ukraine, they have good intelligence and will only move cautiously.
Kherson civilians reported that Chechen troops from Russia are now in Kherson, sitting in cafes and moving about the streets after Russia’s announcement.
Another civilian stated: “Visually nothing has changed. They are virtually invisible on the right bank (western bank) in Kherson. This has been happening for several days. They’ve already taken all they can.
“They are building fortifications along Plavni and the Dnipro on the left bank. There are many of them.”
Olga, a Kherson resident, said that there were fewer soldiers.
She said, “I have been under this occupation but I decided to stay in Kherson as it was unfair to leave Kherson.” “It was my ordeal, and I had to stay here. I don’t know why, but I had to stay. It’s over, and I’m glad it’s over.”
The withdrawal was welcomed by the allies of President Putin, both of whom have been critical about Russia’s war efforts.
Yevgeny Privozhin, the founder of Wagner’s mercenary organization and a long-time Putin associate said that although the decision was not a victory step, it is important to “not agonise, to not get paranoidal, and to draw conclusions and learn from our mistakes.”
“The decision made by Gen. Surovikin was not an easy one, but he did it with a calm and collected attitude. He took on the entire weight of the decision-making without fear and in an organized manner,” Mr. Prigozhin stated.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader who Putin chose to lead the autonomous republic of the North Caucasus in 2007, said that Gen Surovikin had behaved “like a true military general, and not afraid of criticism”.
Many Ukrainians also welcomed the move, especially on social media. Some even found humor in the withdrawal.
“Finally. A gesture of goodwill,” Serhiy Fursa, blogger and economist, posted on Facebook. He was recalling Russia’s explanations for past military defeats.
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, said that it was encouraging to see Ukraine make progress.
He stated that the gains belonged to brave and courageous Ukrainian soldiers but that the United Kingdom’s support from Nato allies, partners, and other countries is essential.”
Russian troops invaded southern Ukraine after annexed Crimea was declared a part of the war. They seized Kherson in March.
They launched attacks in the north, east, and south of the country, as well as around Kyiv, the capital. However, Ukraine’s forces made substantial advances in recent months.
The counter-offensive escalated when the Ukrainian forces retook Kupiansk and Izyum, key supply points for Moscow’s forces. Russia’s military operations have been confined to smaller areas in Ukraine’s east, south and north-east since then.
Moscow cannot portray this withdrawal as anything but a humiliating setback. It is the biggest loss since Ukraine retook large areas of the city of Kharkiv early in the autumn.
It also undermines Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian provinces, including Kherson. Russia claimed that these territories would remain Russian “forever”.
However, Mr. Podolyak cautioned that Ukraine should be cautious.
First, the retreating Russian forces are most likely to have left behind mines or booby traps for advancing Ukrainians.
The second is that Russia will be tempted to bombard Kherson after it has withdrawn its troops from the east bank and “evacuated” large numbers of civilians, sometimes forcefully, to the east.
The pattern in this war is that Russia responds to any major military setbacks it suffers by punishing its civilian population.
To make winter miserable for Ukrainians, expect more drone and missile strikes.
He was seen as one of the main cheerleaders for the occupation of Kherson. Six days ago, he warned that Russian forces would need to cross the eastern bank.
Even though the Ukrainian advance has slowed in recent week, Russia’s supply lines across Dnipro have become more difficult since the few bridges were destroyed by Ukrainian missiles.
Russia had moved thousands of civilians from the city via boat before the withdrawal. This was a practice that Ukraine denounced as forced deportation.
Gen Surovikin, a former commander of Russia’s recent operations in Syria, was appointed to assume control of Russia’s invasion operation a month ago.