Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defence of Ukraine, does not rule out that the Russian invaders may retreat from Kherson to the left bank of the Dnipro River. He also believes Ukraine will liberate all its territories eventually, returning to the status before the annexation of Crimea and of the southern and eastern of mainland Ukraine.
Source: Oleksii Reznikov during a briefing on 4 November
Details: Reznikov has pointed out that rumours about the retreat of the Russian occupiers from Kherson could be an element of a special psychological operation (PSYOP), and that Ukraine trusts only intelligence data and carefully studies all the information.
Quote: "We have known their habit of ‘goodwill gestures’ for a long time. It was a gesture of goodwill when they left Kyiv Oblast, then Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts, thanks to the decisive actions of the security and defence forces. Later, there was Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, another goodwill gesture.
Indeed, I think that they are potentially ready for another ‘goodwill gesture’ on the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast and the area of Kherson city; however, they will still need to lose some of their potential because of the relevant actions of our Armed Forces."
Details: The Minister has noted that the weather also affects the course of war: when it rains, it is harder to fight. In addition, the occupiers use irrigation canals in the agricultural oblast as trenches; "this is slightly slowing down our troops".
Quote: "I am optimistic not only about the Kherson operation; I generally believe, absolutely consciously and aware, that together, we are going to end this war by completely liberating all Ukrainian lands that have been temporarily occupied since 2014, by accessing the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine as of 1991."
- On 27 October, the National Resistance Center reported that the Russians moved their occupation administration in Kherson Oblast to the left bank of the Dnipro River; that is, they transferred it from the city of Kherson. The counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and destruction of bridges across the river urged them to do it.
- The occupiers are taking their "leaders" and collaborators to the "rear", and local residents are being forced to evacuate, frightening them with the blowing up of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant and the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Even Putin stated that the residents of Kherson should be evacuated.
- On 3 November, the flag of the Russian Federation disappeared from the building of the Oblast State Administration in Kherson. However, the defence forces of the south of Ukraine suggested that this could be a fake story in order to deceive Ukrainian defenders and provoke them.
- The West believes that Russia has prepared the groundwork for retreating its forces from Kherson.
- Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defence, has expressed his confidence in Ukrainian troops being able to retake the Russian-occupied right bank of Kherson Oblast, including an administrative centre (Kherson).
- The Sky News reported, citing Western officials, that Russian President Vladimir Putin was likely to come under increasing pressure from nationalist hardliners ahead of an expected Russian withdrawal from the key city of Kherson.