An aide to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky says Vladimr Putin is “living in fear for his life'” because the Russian military has retreated.

Earlier this month, Russia declared its abandonment of the Kherson region, a humiliating setback for Putin and a potential turning point in the conflict, which has dragged on for nine months.

The loss of Kherson, the only regional capital Russia had captured in the conflict, dealt a heavy blow to plans to establish a land corridor to Crimea and secure a water supply to the Russian-controlled territory.

Moscow could be preparing a fresh offensive from Belarus to the north of Ukraine, after the liberation of Kherson. Putin’s troops retreated from Kyiv early in the war after encountering fierce resistance.