NATO chief confirms Russian withdrawal from Kherson

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg learned on Thursday that Russia had begun to withdraw from a strategic Ukrainian town with reservations, insisting the West needed to see “how the situation on the ground will evolve over the next few days.

Speaking at a joint press conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome, Stoltenberg said the withdrawal shows “Russia is under great pressure”.

“And if they leave Kherson, it would be another victory for Ukraine.”

Meloni, who heads Italy’s first far-right-led government since the end of World War II, has strongly backed Ukraine in the war.

His two main coalition allies, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and League leader Matteo Salvini, dithered; they also have past ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meloni also announced the release of Alessia Piperno, a 30-year-old Italian traveler, who was arrested by Iranian security forces in early October when the first anti-government protests broke out to demonstrate over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa. Amini in custody.

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Christi C. Elwood