Kyiv vows to push Russia further away from Ukraine after Kherson success

Ukraine’s president has vowed to continue driving Russian forces out of his country after they pulled out of Kherson, leaving devastation, starvation and booby traps in the southern Ukrainian city.

The Russian withdrawal from Kherson marked a triumphant milestone in Ukraine’s defense against the Moscow invasion nearly nine months ago. The residents of Kherson hugged and kissed the arriving Ukrainian troops in delighted scenes.

“We will see many more such salutes” from Ukrainian soldiers liberating Russian-held territory,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Saturday.

He promised the people in the still occupied Ukrainian towns and villages: “We will not forget anyone; we will not abandon anyone.”

Ukraine’s recapture of Kherson was a major setback for the Kremlin and the latest in a series of embarrassing battlefield situations. It came about six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Kherson region and three other provinces in southern and eastern Ukraine – in violation of international law – and declared them Russian territory.

Women celebrate on the street with Ukrainian flag.
The Kremlin announced on Saturday morning that its troops had withdrawn from Kherson to the other side of the Dnieper.

Driving from the Mykolayiv region towards Kherson, AP reporters saw overturned electrical wires, used projectile casings and the decomposed carcass of a cow. Several wrecked tanks lined the muddy road.

As Ukrainian forces tightened their grip on Kherson on Sunday, authorities pondered the daunting task of clearing explosive devices and restoring basic public services in the city.

A Ukrainian official described the situation in Kherson as “a humanitarian catastrophe”. The remaining residents of the city are said to lack water, medicine and food. Due to the lack of electricity, there is a shortage of important staple foods such as bread.

Ukrainian police called on residents to help identify collaborators with Russian forces during the eight-month occupation. Ukrainian police officers returned to the city along with public broadcasting services on Saturday after Russian troops withdrew.

A girl and a Ukrainian officer hug as they celebrate the reconquest in Kherson, Ukraine.

A girl and a Ukrainian officer hug while celebrating the reconquest in Kherson, Ukraine.

A woman hugs a Ukrainian officer as they celebrate the recapture of Kherson

Ukraine’s military said it was overseeing “stabilization measures” around the city to ensure it was safe.

A woman reacts with Ukrainian lawmaker and military officer Roman Kostenko as they celebrate the recapture in Kherson

A woman becomes emotional with Ukrainian lawmaker and military officer Roman Kostenko as they celebrate the retaking of Kherson.

Ukraine’s national police chief Ihor Klymenko said on Facebook on Saturday that about 200 officers are deployed in the city, setting up checkpoints and documenting evidence of possible war crimes.

In what may be the next district that could fall in Ukraine’s march on territory illegally annexed by Moscow, the Russian-appointed administration of the Kakhovka district, east of the city of Kherson, on Saturday announced the evacuation of its staff.

“Today, the government is the number one target for Ukrainian attacks,” said Moscow-installed Kakhovka leader Pavel Filipchuk.

“Therefore, as an authority, by order of the Kherson region government, we are moving to a safer area from where we will run the district,” he wrote on Telegram.

Kakhovka is located on the left bank of the Dnieper River, upstream of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station.

A woman leans on Ukrainian lawmaker and officer Roman Kostenko.
Although the city is known to be in the hands of the Ukrainians, many areas are still under Russian control.

Deputy head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko said six people died as a result of Russian shelling on Saturday.

Writing to Telegram on Sunday, he said four people were killed and one injured in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, two were killed in the Kherson region and two were injured in the central Dnepropetrovsk region.

In Kherson on Saturday, photos shared on social media showed Ukrainian activists removing commemorative plaques put up by the occupation authorities. A Telegram post from Yellow Ribbon, the Ukrainian resistance movement in the occupied territories, showed two people in a park removing plaques with Soviet-era military figures.

Moscow’s announcement that Russian forces would withdraw across the Dnieper River, which divides both the Kherson region and Ukraine as a whole, followed an intensified Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south of the country. In the past two months, the Ukrainian military claimed to have recaptured dozens of towns and villages north of the city of Kherson, and the military said stabilization activities were taking place there.

Ukrainians wave flags from cars in downtown Kherson as celebrations to retake the city erupt.
Ukrainians wave flags from cars in downtown Kherson as celebrations to retake the city break out.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tried to calm the excitement over Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson.

“We’re winning battles on the ground, but the war goes on,” he said from Cambodia, where he was attending an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists on Sunday that a joint statement on the summit’s outcome was not adopted because “the American side and its partners insisted on an unacceptable assessment of the situation in and around Ukraine.”

The Kremlin is angered by the support Ukraine is receiving from its western allies, including the United States. Kyiv vows to push Russia further away from Ukraine after Kherson success


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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