Shortly before the defence ministry announced that the military withdrawal was complete, Putin's spokesman avoided questions on the situation in southern Ukraine.
Instead Dmitry Peskov told journalists to address them to the Defence Ministry.
Peskov said: “There are lots of different experts – some say what you’ve said, some say other things. We don’t want to comment on any of them. The ‘special military operation’ continues.”
Asked whether he thought it was a humiliation for the president, Peskov said no.
It was only at the end of September that Putin had celebrated the annexation of four occupied regions including Kherson, and Peskov confirmed Russia saw the entire region as still part of Russia.