Russia's commander in Ukraine, Gen Sergei Surovikin, said it was no longer possible to keep supplying the city. The withdrawal is a significant blow as Russia daces a Ukrainian counter-offensive. The military's top brass announced the decision on Russian state TV, with Gen Surovikin reporting on the situation on the ground in Kherson. However, President Vladimir Putin did not take part in the staged event. The architect of Russia's failing war in Ukraine appeared to have left the announcement to his generals. Mr Putin announced the annexation of Kherson, along with three other occupied regions, at the end of September 2022. "In these circumstances, the most sensible option is to organise the defence along a barrier line along the river Dnipro," Gen Surovikin told the meeting. Russia's pullback was treated with caution by Ukrainian officials. After Russia's announcement, civilians inside Kherson said Chechen troops from the Russian military are in the city, in cafes, and moving around the streets. Another civilian said "Visually, nothing has changed. On the right bank [western bank] in Kherson, they are almost invisible, and it has been [like that] for several days. They have already taken everything they could. there are a lot of them on the left bank, and they are building fortifications along the Dnipro and Plavni." Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said it was "encouraging" to see Ukraine making advances. "The gains...belong to the brave, courageous Ukrainian soldiers, but of course, the support they receive from the United Kingdom, from Nato allies and partners is also essential," He said.