Ukrainians advance after Russia orders retreat

STORY: Ukrainian troops advanced towards Kherson in the south on Thursday (November 10) after Moscow ordered one of the war's biggest retreats.

This video, aired on state television, shows soldiers in a square in the village of Snihurivka, about 35 miles north of Kherson city.

Greeted by residents with the Ukrainian flag fluttering. Reuters has verified the location.

Moscow ordered its troops on Wednesday (November 9) to withdraw from the entire Russian-held pocket on the west bank of the Dnipro River.

That includes Kherson city, the only regional capital Russia has captured in nine months of war.

Mykhail Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, warned Russia planned to mine everything from apartments to sewers and shell Kherson from the other side of the river.

Turning it into a "city of death".

Edward Arnold of London's Royal United Services Institute saw little sign Russia was capable of laying a sophisticated trap. But the operation wouldn't be easy.

"Tactically I mean, the city is likely to be laced with improvised explosive devices and it'll take a significant amount of time for the Ukrainians to clear routes in and out of the city, but also clear the buildings and I suppose Russia would have tried to do that to further degrade Ukrainian forces, but ensure that Ukrainian forces can't quickly follow up their advance into Kherson city itself.''

Close to Snihurivka, in this hamlet on the frontline, the guns fell silent for the first time since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February.

Suggesting the Russians slipped out before Ukrainian troops moved in.

Russia's retreat order is one of the most humiliating defeats Moscow has suffered so far.

Coming just over a month after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of Kherson and three other regions.

State media and pro-Kremlin hawks defend it as necessary while acknowledging a heavy blow.

Resident Petro Lupan says he couldn't express his joy after he spoke by phone to a friend in Snihurivka and learned of its recapture.

"There's no food, nothing there. People from there called me and said they have no food, nothing. Now we need to take food there. We live here, oh my God, we have everything here. We have food, we have bread, we're being brought everything. Thanks a lot."

Army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said Kyiv couldn't yet confirm the Russian pull-out.

Kyiv is usually silent about its own military operations.

But he said Ukrainian troops had recaptured 12 settlements in 24 hours and and advanced 4 miles.

Russia denies abusing civilians during what it calls a "special military operation".

It evacuated thousands of civilians from the Kherson area in recent weeks in what Ukraine called a forced deportation.

Victory in Kherson would strengthen Ukraine's case that it can defeat Russia on the battlefield, and may quiet voices calling on it to negotiate a deal and cede territory.