November 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Amy Woodyatt, Kathleen Magramo, Andrew Raine, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 8:00 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022
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11:08 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Russian ministry reiterates all troops and equipment were withdrawn from west bank of Kherson

From Darya Tarasova 

A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry reiterated that all Russian troops have been withdrawn from the west bank of the Kherson region as of early Friday.

"All personnel, weapons and military equipment of the group have been withdrawn to the left [east] bank. In total, more than 30 thousand Russian military personnel, about 5 thousand pieces of weapons and military equipment, as well as material property were withdrawn," according to the statement

"All Russian military equipment to be repaired was also taken to the left bank of the Dnipro," it added, repeating that "not a single piece of military equipment or weapons have been left on the right bank."

But social media video suggests otherwise, with Russian tanks, armored vehicles and crates of ammunition displayed by Ukrainian troops. 

Ukraine also urged any Russian soldiers remaining on the west bank to surrender immediately. And officials warned some Russian troops may have remained behind in civilian clothing.

Ukraine has asserted that it carried out attacks against Russian troop concentrations that were withdrawing, but the Russian Defense Ministry said that "despite the attempts of the enemy to disrupt the transfer of Russian troops, no losses among personnel, weapons, military equipment and materiel were allowed. The group's Russian air defense and electronic warfare systems repulsed all attempts to deliver missile strikes."

The ministry also claimed that the Ukrainian advance had been held back for several days. "Russian artillery fire, air strikes and the use of minefields stopped the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at a distance of 30-40 kilometers from the area of crossings over the [Dnipro] River," it said.

"Currently, the accumulations of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the right bank of the [Dnipro] are being hit by fire," the ministry said. 

Ukraine has not reported any incoming fire from the east bank Friday but said a missile attack on the city of Mykolaiv, close to the border with Kherson, killed multiple people early Friday.

10:47 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Officials in Ukraine celebrate Russian retreat from Kherson city and region's west bank

From Julia Kesaieva

Ukrainian officials have been celebrating the liberation of Kherson city and the west bank of the region.

Yuriy Sobolevskyi, first deputy head of Kherson regional council, said on Telegram: "Kherson is unbreakable! Today free people were able to come to Svobody (Freedom) Square with the flags of Ukraine again, as it was when the enemy captured the city."

Sobolevskyi recalled that when he was in Russian-occupied territory, "I always wrote that every day we are one day closer to our freedom! And this day for Kherson has come today! No one can break us and intimidate us! Kherson is Ukraine!"

The Ukrainian military's Operational Command South suggested that the Russian withdrawal to the east bank was not yet complete, although there have been no reports of Russian forces still on the west bank Friday. 

In Facebook and Telegram messages on Friday afternoon local time, it said that "the enemy continues regrouping and moving troops to the left [east] bank of the Dnipro river....The occupiers keep on with looting the settlements they are retreating from. They are inflicting maximum damage to transport infrastructure as well as critical infrastructure."

The military command added that Ukrainian units "performed a fire mission area overnight, including aiming at enemy military convoys and concentration of enemy units. Final data is being clarified."

10:34 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Ukraine liberates village in Kherson region despite Russians destroying bridges on retreat

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Russian forces destroyed a bridge on the road out of Tyahinka, Ukraine, on November 11.
Russian forces destroyed a bridge on the road out of Tyahinka, Ukraine, on November 11. (Telegram)

Ukrainian armed forces have retaken another part of the Kherson region — the village of Tyahinka, near the strategic town of Nova Kakhovka — despite Russian forces destroying bridges on their way out.

A video circulating on social media Friday, geolocated and authenticated by CNN, shows Ukrainian troops being greeted by residents on the main highway in Tyahinka. The village is just 20 kilometers (about 14 miles) west of the hydroelectric dam and bridges that stretch across the Dnipro River at Nova Kakhovka.

A number of photos, also geolocated and authenticated by CNN, show that the Ukrainian forces were able to make their way into the village despite the main highway's bridge and a pedestrian bridge being destroyed by the Russians as they withdrew.

Those bridges cross the Tyahinka River, which flows into the Dnipro River.

Russia is pulling its troops back to the Dnipro's eastern bank, allowing the Ukrainians to reclaim territory west of the river.

11:14 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

"Crying of happiness": Ukrainian parliament member reflects on "historic" Russian retreat from Kherson

Kira Rudik, a member of Ukrainian parliament, told CNN that the retreat of Russian forces from the southern city of Kherson has prompted "so much crying of happiness."

"Today is a historic date. We will remember it because we are liberating the regional center Kherson that was captured at the beginning the invasion. And ... not too many people believe this would be taken back. ... People are so happy, they are chanting, and I can tell you there is so much crying of happiness. Because when nobody believed that we would be able to do that, Kherson is Ukraine, and it's being liberated today," she told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Rudik cautioned that the pullback of Russian troops from Kherson should be called a retreat and not a withdrawal.

It is the "result of intense fighting and strategic actions by Ukrainian army and the support of our allies. Nothing is given in this war. It's always a measure of pain, death and incredible resolve and push of Ukrainian soldiers," she said.

When asked about possible negotiations to end the war, Rudik said Ukraine requires security guarantees.

"The question remains the same: How can we trust that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not attack us tomorrow, or in a year or in five years? Because the main thing that we owe to our children, to the next generation, that they wouldn't have to fight this war again and again and again," Rudik said.  

10:44 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Ukrainian forces completing advancement through Kherson region west of Dnipro River

From CNN's Tim Lister

A Ukrainian service member stands next to a previously captured Russian armoured personnel carried in the village of Blahodatne, retaken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces a day ago in the Kherson region, Ukraine, on November 11.
A Ukrainian service member stands next to a previously captured Russian armoured personnel carried in the village of Blahodatne, retaken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces a day ago in the Kherson region, Ukraine, on November 11. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian forces have advanced through much of the Kherson region Friday, apparently encountering little or no resistance.

Social media videos from towns and villages throughout the region's west bank show troops being greeted by civilians. 

Ukrainian troops have also been seen in the middle of Kherson city amid scenes of jubilation. But crowds have been relatively small, reflecting the fact that many residents had left and perhaps that others are wary that the Russians might strike the city now they have left.

The scenes of people greeting Ukrainian troops across the region are in sharp contrast to claims by Russian-appointed officials in Kherson six weeks ago that 87% of voters there supported integration into the Russian Federation, in a referendum widely condemned by the international community as an illegal sham. 

Ukrainian forces advanced Friday toward Kherson city, the only regional capital captured by Russian forces since the start of the invasion in February, on several fronts — and now have control of almost the entire west bank of the Dnipro River.

Russian forces have ceded about 40% of the Kherson region, which straddles the Dnipro, within a few days, after being ordered to withdraw to the east bank of the Dnipro by the country's defense ministry on Wednesday.

Altogether, Ukraine has reclaimed some 10,000 square kilometers of territory in the Kherson region.

It's unclear whether any Russian troops remain on the west bank. The Russian ministry has said the withdrawal is complete.

Now that Ukrainian forces have recaptured Kherson as far as the Dnipro river, the two sides face each other across the river over a distance of some 250 kilometers — from the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the edge of the Black Sea. 

9:24 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Ukrainian intelligence agency tells remaining Russian soldiers in Kherson to surrender

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukraine's Intelligence Directorate has appealed to any Russian soldiers still on the west bank of the Kherson region to surrender.

In a message on its Telegram channel, the Intelligence Directorate said, "Russian soldiers! As expected, after the retreat of the main group of troops of the Russian army from the Ukrainian Kherson, your command left you to the mercy of fate. Your commanders urge you to change into civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson on your own. Obviously you won't be able to."

The message continues: 

"Kherson returns under the control of Ukraine, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine enter the city. The retreat routes of the Russian invaders are under the fire control of the Ukrainian army. Any attempts to oppose the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be stopped. Every Russian soldier who resists will be destroyed."

The directorate told any remaining Russian soldiers that immediately surrendering is the "only chance to avoid death."

"In case of voluntary surrender, Ukraine guarantees you the preservation of life and safety. We comply with the Geneva Conventions, guarantee prisoners of war food, medical care and the possibility of your exchange for servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces held captive in the Russian Federation," it said. 

It encouraged Russian soldiers to contact a Ukrainian hotline called "I Want To Live."

11:15 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Ukrainian troops are entering Kherson after a Russian retreat. Catch up here.

In a huge setback for the Kremlin, Russian troops withdrew from the Kherson region west of the Dnipro River, and images geolocated by CNN show Ukrainian forces are entering the key southern regional capital city.

Here's what we know so far:

Russian retreat from Kherson: All Russian troops have left the key Ukrainian city of Kherson, the country's defense ministry said, confirming a humiliating retreat for Moscow.

The main bridge — the Antonivskyi bridge — over the Dnipro River in the region has also been destroyed, images and video on social media showed on Friday.

Kherson was the only Ukrainian regional capital that Russian forces had captured since February’s invasion. Their withdrawal east across the Dnipro River cedes large swathes of land that Russia has occupied since the early days of the war, and that President Vladimir Putin had declared as Russian territory just five weeks ago.

Scenes of jubilant Ukrainians: Residents of Kherson city have flooded the city’s central square, waving and raising Ukrainian flags, in images geolocated by CNN.

Ukrainian residents of a town on the western outskirts of Kherson city have ripped down Russian propaganda billboards, according to videos on social media geolocated by CNN.

In the town of Snihurivka, in the Mykolaiv region, a CNN team witnessed a party atmosphere, with residents greeting each other with hugs on the streets. Others broke down in tears recalling the ordeal of Russian occupation.

Officials urge caution: A Ukrainian official on Friday acknowledged that Kherson city is “almost under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” but warned that some Russian troops may have remained behind in civilian clothing.��Residents of Kherson city with whom CNN has spoken in recent weeks confirmed that many Russian soldiers were using civilian clothing.

On Wednesday, officials in Kyiv treated the announcement that Moscow would withdraw troops with skepticism, warning about mines and possible Russian scorched-earth tactics.

Here's the most current map of control:

9:25 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in central Kherson city, social media video shows

From CNN's Tim Lister and Paul Murphy

The first Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in the middle of Kherson city, where they were greeted by crowds of civilians, according to social media video.

One video showed several soldiers among a crowd in the main Svobody Square being hugged by civilians and taking selfies with them.

One soldier is lifted into the air by the crowd.

The crowd of several dozen civilians, some draped in the Ukrainian flag, is chanting "SZU," the acronym for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The Ukrainian flag also appears to have been raised at the city's police headquarters.

8:33 a.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Kherson official confirms city is "almost under the control" of Ukrainian forces

From CNN's Mick Krever in Kyiv

A Ukrainian official for the first time on Friday acknowledged that Kherson city is “almost under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” but warned that some Russian troops may have remained behind in civilian clothing. 

Serhii Khlan, a member of Ukraine’s Kherson regional council, told an online briefing that “de-occupation of Kherson city and the western bank of the Dnipro is at the final stage.”

He cautioned that many Russian troops “threw away their military uniforms, and are now hiding with civilian clothes on.”

“They will be plotting provocations, false-flag operations in the city,” he said. “There is a lot of work ahead on de-mining and clearing the city.”

Residents of Kherson city with whom CNN has spoken in recent weeks confirmed that many Russian soldiers were using civilian clothing.

Khlan also said that large numbers of Russian troops drowned while trying to flee the city. CNN cannot confirm his claim.

“Our Armed Forces, under a fierce onslaught, destroyed most of the Russians who were fleeing like rats to the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro,” Khlan said. “They were fleeing along the pontoons they had built under Antonivskyi bridge, leaving their equipment behind. Many Russians have drowned.”

While retreating, he said that Russian forces had detonated explosives at Kherson’s power plant and destroyed part of a TV antenna. Photos of the destroyed TV antenna circulated this morning on Telegram.

“Now since our Armed Forces have actually taken control of the right-bank [western] part of the Kherson region, we can keep the left-bank [eastern] part of Kherson region under fire control, up to the Crimean isthmus,” he said.

He said that communications in the city remained extremely difficult, and that both fuel and electricity were scarce.

“The Ukrainian flag is raised in Kherson city. From now on, the Ukrainian flag will appear on all buildings in Kherson. This is what we have dreamed of from the first days of occupation,” he added.