Status of Kherson as ‘part of Russia’ unchanged: Kremlin
The Kremlin said on Friday that Russian forces’ withdrawal from Kherson would not change the status of the region, which Moscow has proclaimed part of Russia after moving to annex it from Ukraine.
Russia claimed Kherson and three other Ukrainian regions after holding what it called referendums in September – votes that were denounced by Kyiv and Western governments as illegal and coercive.
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But on Wednesday, in a major retreat, it announced its forces would pull out of Kherson city in the face of a major Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the region’s status was “fixed” and that no changes were possible.
“It is a subject of the Russian Federation - it is legally fixed and defined. There are no changes and there can be no changes,” Peskov said.
He said Moscow did not regret announcing the annexation of Kherson and the other three regions in a triumphant ceremony in Moscow on September 30.
In the Kremlin’s first public comments since Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Russian forces would withdraw from Kherson city to the opposite side of the River Dnipro, Peskov said it was a decision taken by the defense ministry and he had “nothing to add.”
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