Alright, so here's what I've gathered about Kherson. I'd like to point out that the USSR was infamous for digging in positions right before abandoning them in retreat to confuse the enemy or in staging retreats before pushing forward, and that from what I can gather even the Ukrainian presidential advisors are saying it's too early to call it a Russian retreat. That being said from the sounds of it, it's probably a legit retreat. Retreating is militarily sound, but politically suicidal for the Russians, so it will be interesting to see how Russian citizens react to the withdrawal and how Putin's advisors try to justify it. Surovikin the war general in charge of giving out actual orders and meeting demands is taking a "don't give a fuck it's necessary to win the war" approach while Shoigu the civilian-side defense minister is humming and hawwing quite a bit while having approved the measure from the sounds of it (Russia's military has a civilian-sector group declaring objectives and a military-sector group deciding how to go about achieving those objectives; it's very top-down and has bogged down the Russian military repeatedly which is why it's primarily the Chechens and Wagner making gains in Ukraine).
Contributing factors that lead to Russians deciding to retreat from Kherson include...
>Ukraine knows it's a politically strategic target that will mess with Russian morale after the prior morale loss after pulling out of Kharkiv so they are targeting more resources there harming Russian combat capabilities
>Russia relies on the rail networks for transporting artillery to the front lines so ferries just don't cut it
>There are only two rail networks Russia can use to replace artillery shells, and they are under increasingly strong attacks
>Russians would need to secure territory to the North or West in order to maintain Kherson, and the Nova Khakovkha crossing is unusable killing any hopes of a Northern assault not passing through Zaporizhia/Dnipro
>On the flip side, Kherson is a necessary bridgehead to launch any assaults on Kryvy Rih or Nikolaev (Russians have apparently decided these are not suitable targets)
>Ukraine needs to take Kherson in order to open up any kind of negotiations with Russia since they have to show results to America (around the time that Russia started to make moves to suggest pulling out of Kherson, the Biden admin stopped trying to block Biden and Putin from meeting in the upcoming Bali G20 summit and Putin is sending Lavrov instead in order to ease tensions and encourage Zelensky to attend)
>Civilians have been successfully evacuated (many reported it would take about 25 days to evacuate all civilians in a timely manner and we're approaching that 25 day mark)
>With resupply being difficult and power being intermittent at best in the Kherson region, Russians would have to supply the troops with a greater-than-average number of resources in order to get through winter, through limited contact lines that are easily targeted, which could lead to a mess come December/January
>If the Ukrainians do blow one of the dams, the river will get even wider than it already is from the autumn rain releases destroying any pontoon crossings currently set up
>On the flip side, these same winter/flooding vulnerabilities mean Ukraine will likely struggle to "hold" the territory if Russia does decide to cross again
>Russia is experiencing larger munition and troop losses in Kherson than elsewhere
>Russia seems to still be using the "minimize civilian casualty" strategy (there are several high rises in Donbass that could have been taken out to speed up the capture process there, but Russian high command was worried about civilian casualties so they wouldn't let artillery strike high-rise structures in Bakhmut, as an example)
>From the sounds of it, the mobilized troops aren't being deployed in Kherson for one reason or another
tl;dr- There is no military reason for Russia to hold Kherson other than to justify further pushes to the West/North. It's almost purely a morale/ideological drive in maintaining the city, so the Russians seem to be taking a sobering approach. If you want to take the "4D chess" approach you could claim that Russia pulling back will encourage the war hawks in Ukraine to keep engaging in war/further radicalize the Russian populace, but Surovikin/Shoigu have shown themselves to be almost overly pragmatic so chances are this is being done understanding the military consequences if they don't. ngl wish Ukraine would make gains that wasn't "Russia is retreating for strategic reasons" but Russia is gonna look the fool if they don't make some gains soon.
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