Zelenskyy calls liberation of Kherson ‘beginning of the end’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walks on central sq. throughout his go to to Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14, 2022.
| Photograph Credit score: AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the Russian withdrawal from Kherson because the “starting of the tip of the war” on Monday, as he lauded troopers and took selfies with them within the not too long ago liberated southern metropolis.

The retaking of Kherson after a grinding offensive that compelled Russian to pull back its forces from the city was one in every of Ukraine’s greatest success up to now of the almost nine-month invasion and a stinging blow to the Kremlin.

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Mr. Zelenskyy walked the streets of town on Monday, simply hours after warning in his nightly video deal with of booby traps and mines left behind within the metropolis by the Russians earlier than their retreat.

Mr. Zelenskyy has beforehand appeared unexpectedly in different front-line zones at essential junctures of the warfare, to help troops and congratulate them for battlefield exploits.

Surrounded by his guards, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walks on central square during his visit to Kherson, Ukraine on November 14, 2022.

Surrounded by his guards, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walks on central sq. throughout his go to to Kherson, Ukraine on November 14, 2022.
| Photograph Credit score:
AP

In Kherson, he distributed medals to troopers Ukrainian troops in a central sq. and posed for selfies with them.

Video footage additionally confirmed him waving to residents who waved at him from an residence window and yelled “Glory to Ukraine!” The reply “Glory to the heroes!” got here again from Mr. Zelenskyy’s group, made up of troopers and others.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday refused to touch upon Mr. Zelenskyy’s go to to Kherson, saying solely that “you recognize that it’s the territory of the Russian Federation.”

The liberation of Kherson after a grinding offensive that compelled Russian to withdraw its forces from town was one in every of Ukraine’s greatest success up to now of the almost nine-month invasion and a stinging blow for the Kremlin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, awards a serviceman during his visit to Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, proper, awards a serviceman throughout his go to to Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14, 2022.
| Photograph Credit score:
AP

After the Russian retreat, Ukrainian authorities say they’re discovering proof of torture and different atrocities.

In his nightly video deal with on Sunday, Zelenskyy mentioned with out particulars that “investigators have already documented greater than 400 Russian warfare crimes, and the our bodies of each civilians and navy personnel have been discovered.”

“Within the Kherson area, the Russian military left behind the identical atrocities as in different areas of our nation,” he mentioned. “We’ll discover and convey to justice each assassin. For sure.”

The tip of Russia’s eight-month occupation of Kherson metropolis has sparked days of celebration, but in addition uncovered a humanitarian emergency, with residents residing with out energy and water and wanting meals and medicines. Russia nonetheless controls about 70% of the broader Kherson area.

Mr. Zelenskyy mentioned Russian troopers who have been left behind when their navy commanders deserted town final week are being detained. He additionally spoke, once more with out particulars, of the “neutralization of saboteurs.”

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Ukrainian police have known as on residents to assist determine individuals who collaborated with Russian forces.

Mr. Zelenskyy urged folks within the liberated zone to even be alert for booby traps, saying: “Please, don’t forget that the state of affairs within the Kherson area remains to be very harmful. Initially, there are mines. Sadly, one in every of our sappers was killed, and 4 others have been injured whereas clearing mines.”

And he promised that important providers can be restored.

Local residents greet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his visit to Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14, 2022.

Native residents greet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy throughout his go to to Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14, 2022.
| Photograph Credit score:
AP

“We’re doing all the things to revive regular technical capabilities for electrical energy and water provide as quickly as attainable,” he mentioned. “We’ll convey again transport and submit. Let’s convey again an ambulance and regular medication. In fact, the restoration of the work of authorities, the police, and a few personal corporations are already starting.”

Residents mentioned departing Russian troops plundered town, carting away loot as they withdrew final week. Additionally they wrecked key infrastructure earlier than retreating throughout the broad Dnieper River to its east financial institution.

One Ukrainian official described the state of affairs in Kherson as “a humanitarian disaster.”

Reconnecting the electrical energy provide is the precedence, with gasoline provides already assured, Kherson regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych mentioned.

The Russian pullout marked a triumphant milestone in Ukraine’s pushback towards Moscow’s invasion virtually 9 months in the past. Prior to now two months, Ukraine’s navy claimed to have retaken dozens of cities and villages north of town of Kherson.

Ukraine’s liberation of Kherson was the most recent in a collection of battlefield embarrassments for the Kremlin. It got here some six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Kherson region and three other provinces in southern and japanese Ukraine — in breach of worldwide legislation — and declared them Russian territory.

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