Ukrainians celebrate soldiers retaking Kherson

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Jubilant residents welcomed Ukrainian troops arriv-ing in the centre of Kherson after Russia abandoned the only regional capital it had captured since its invasion began in February.

“Today is a historic day. We are getting the south of the country back, we are getting Kherson back,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an evening video address.

“As of now, our defenders are on the outskirts of the city, and we are very close to entering. But special units are already in the city,” he added.

Russia said it had withdrawn 30,000 troops across the Dnipro River without losing a single soldier.

However, Ukrainians painted a picture of a cha-otic retreat, with Russian troops ditching their uni-forms, dropping weapons and drowning while trying to flee.

The withdrawal marked the third major Russian retreat of the war and the first to involve yielding such a large occupied city in the face of a major Ukrainian counter-offensive that has retaken parts of the east and south.

Video footage verified by Reuters showed doz-ens of people cheering and chanting victory slogans in Kherson city’s central square, where the apparent first Ukrainian troops to arrive snapped selfies in the throng.

Two men hoisted a female soldier on their shoulders and tossed her into the air. Some residents wrapped themselves in Ukrainian flags. One man was weeping with joy.

Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said Kherson was being restored to Ukrainian control and ordered any remaining Russian troops to surrender to Kyiv’s forces entering the city.

Locals had placed Ukrainian flags in the square as news of the end of more than eight months of occupation filtered out.

“Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to the Nation!” one man shouted in another video veri-fied by Reuters.—Reuters

 

 

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