Volodymyr Zelensky walks around Kherson, declaring that the city’s liberation is “the beginning of the end of the war.”

the main points
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the southern city of Kherson after the withdrawal of Russian forces last week.
  • The city is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, as many residents approach winter without electricity or water.
  • Mr. Zelensky has vowed to press on and take back Ukraine’s remaining occupied territories.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky marched through the streets of the newly liberated city of Kherson, hailing the Russian withdrawal as “the beginning of the end of the war”.
On Monday, he also acknowledged the heavy price Ukrainian forces are paying in their crushing efforts to repel the invaders.
It was one of Ukraine’s biggest successes in the nine-month-old war, dealing another blow to the Kremlin. It could serve as a springboard for further advances in the occupied territories.
President Joe Biden called it an “important victory” for Ukraine.

“I can do nothing but pay tribute to the courage, determination and ability of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian army,” he said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.

Large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine remain under Russian control, and . Heavy fighting continued elsewhere in the country on Monday.
In Kherson, Mr. Zelensky awarded medals to soldiers and posed with them for selfies while making a defiant remark.
“This is the beginning of the end of the war,” he said. “We are coming step by step to all the temporarily occupied territories,” he added.
But he also grimly noted that the fighting had “captured our country’s best heroes.”
The Russian occupation of the city ended . But as winter approaches, its residents live without heating, water, electricity, and food and medicine shortages.

President Zelensky acknowledged that the battle “captured the best heroes of our country.” source: GT / Ukrainian government photo

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, visiting The Hague, warned that “we must not make the mistake of underestimating Russia.”

He said, “The Russian armed forces maintain great capabilities in addition to a large number of forces, and Russia has shown its willingness to suffer great losses.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on Zelensky’s visit, saying only, “You know that it is the territory of the Russian Federation.” Russia earlier this year.

Residents said Russian forces ransacked the city as they left last week. They also destroyed key infrastructure before retreating across the wide Dnipro River to its eastern bank.

A Ukrainian official described the situation in Kherson as a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
Biden said he expects things to slow down somewhat militarily “because of the winter months and the inability to move easily around the country.”
In the past two months, the Ukrainian military has claimed to have recaptured dozens of towns and villages north of the city of Kherson, which is a major gateway to Crimea to the south – an area illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

But the grinding war continued – with bombing, civilian casualties, and each side reporting gains.

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