Ukraine presidential adviser: too soon to talk of Russian withdrawal from Kherson

FILE PHOTO: Political advisor of Ukrainian President Podolyak speaks during an interview in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) -A senior adviser to Ukraine's president said on Wednesday it was too early to talk about a Russian troop pullout from the southern city of Kherson.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday ordered his troops to withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River in the face of Ukrainian attacks near the southern city of Kherson.

"It's necessary to separate words from deeds," Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in a statement to Reuters.

"Until the Ukrainian flag is flying over Kherson, it makes no sense to talk about a Russian withdrawal."

He said that Russian forces remained in Kherson, which was captured by Russian troops shortly after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine but had become the focus of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

"Ukraine does not take these statements (by Russia) into consideration," he said.

"It is still too early to talk about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson: a grouping of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is being maintained in the city, and additional manpower is being pulled into the region."

He added: "Our armed forces work according to their plan: reconnaissance, risk assessment, effective counterattack."

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Dan Peleschuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)