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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 261 of the invasion

Ukraine estimates it will take at least a week for Russian troops to leave Kherson city; Kyiv claims liberation of the key town of Snihurivka

Ukrainian forces are closing in on the outskirts of the southern city of Kherson after Russia’s announcement its forces have begun retreating. Ukraine claimed it had liberated the key town of Snihurivka, about 20 miles (32km) north of Kherson. Images also emerged of Ukrainian soldiers with a Ukrainian flag in Kyslivka, a village just outside Klapaya and about nine miles (15km) from Kherson’s city centre.

The Russian defence ministry confirmed its withdrawal in the region was under way. “The Russian troop units are manoeuvring to a prepared position on the left bank of the Dnipro River in strict accordance with the approved plan.”

Ukrainian troops continued their advance on Kherson from the north, east and west, as the large pocket around the city once held by Russian forces appeared to be shrinking. Video posted by Russian soldiers retreating across the Dnipro appeared to confirm that at least some troops had already withdrawn.

Ukraine’s defence minister said Russians will take at least a week to leave Kherson city and Moscow still had a contingent of 40,000 troops in the Kherson region. “It’s not that easy to withdraw these troops from Kherson in one day or two days. As a minimum, (it will take) one week,” Oleksii Reznikov told Reuters. He added that intelligence showed Russia’s forces remained inside the city, around the city and on the west bank of the Dnipro. Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, estimated more than half the Russian forces that had been stationed on the right bank of the city were still there – a force that had previously been put at 20,000.

Kyiv has said it is wary of rushing in and claiming victory, warning it may be a trap by the Kremlin. Ukraine’s army chief, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said Kyiv could not yet confirm whether Russia was indeed pulling out of the city, but Kyiv’s forces have advanced 36.5km (22.7 miles) and retaken 41 villages and towns since 1 October in the region. That included 12 settlements on Wednesday alone.

There were unconfirmed reports of explosions from shelling around the Nova Kakhovka dam late on Thursday. Kyiv has repeatedly warned that the 30-metre high hydroelectric facility could be targeted by the Russians.

Ukrainian forces have liberated 41 settlements as they advanced through the south, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his Thursday evening address. Ukraine is working on ridding areas retaken from Russian forces of thousands of unexploded landmines and ordnance that has been left behind.

America’s top general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimates that Russia’s military had seen more than 100,000 of its soldiers killed and wounded in Ukraine, adding that Kyiv’s armed forces has “probably” suffered a similar level of casualties. Mark Milley’s remarks offer the highest US estimate of casualties to date.

The UK government has frozen more than £18bn of assets belonging to oligarchs and other Russians under the new sanctions regime. Sanctions have been imposed on 1,271 people – including the former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and the “Nickel King” Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second richest person – according to a report published on Thursday.

The US will send $400m more in military aid to Ukraine, officials announced on Thursday. According to the Pentagon, the aid package will contain large amounts of ammunition and, for the first time, four highly mobile Avenger air defence systems. “This increased air defence will be critical for Ukraine as Russia continues to use cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones to attack critical civilian infrastructure,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. The US will also buy 100,000 rounds of howitzer artillery from South Korean manufacturers to provide to Ukraine, an official added.

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