Ukraine has described the military gains it made on the day in which the country celebrated Moscow’s retreat from Kherson amid reports that Russian forces had destroyed road and rail bridges.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Saturday morning that, over the previous 24 hours, Russia had lost 810 troops, taking the total death toll since the start of the full-scale invasion to more than 80,000.
The update also said that Russia had lost 24 tanks and 34 armored personnel vehicles. Ukraine’s air force had made 16 strikes against Moscow’s military, in which they targeted personnel, weapons and military equipment.
Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for a response to the unverified Ukrainian claims, and Kyiv’s account of Moscow’s losses are higher than Western estimates.
It comes as Kyiv’s forces are reportedly completing the liberation of the western bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson Oblast, following the Russian withdrawal.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said that its forces had completed the withdrawal to the eastern bank of the river at 5 a.m. on Friday, although the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said some Russian soldiers are likely still on the west bank and scattered throughout the region.
“Ukrainian forces will complete the liberation of any areas not yet under their control rapidly,” the U.S.-based think tank said on Friday.
The ISW added that satellite imagery had backed up reports that, to block a Ukrainian advance towards the center of the Kherson region, Russian troops had destroyed bridges.
These were the Antonivsky Bridge and railway bridge near Kherson; the Nova Kakhovka dam bridge east of the city, near Nova Kakhovka; and the Darivka Bridge, northeast of Kherson, over the Inhulets River.
The destruction of the bridges was also described by the British Ministry of Defense (MOD), which said that the retreat had likely started as early as October 22, when Russian-installed figures in Kherson urged civilians to leave the city.
As the only regional capital city that Moscow had captured since the start of the war, “the withdrawal brings significant reputational damage,” British defense officials said, and was a “public recognition” of the problems Russian forces faced on the Dnieper’s west bank.
“It is likely that Russia is still attempting to evacuate forces from other areas of the oblast (region) across the river to defensible positions on the east bank,” the British MOD said.
Meanwhile, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday, where he is at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit, that the Russian retreat from Kherson was an “extraordinary victory.”