Ukrainian army enters Kherson after forcing the Russians to withdraw | War in Ukraine
People celebrate Russia's withdrawal from Kherson in central Kyiv.
The Ukrainian army announced on Friday that it had entered Kherson (south) after the forced withdrawal of the Russian military, which constitutes a new scathing setback for Moscow after almost nine months of invasion in Ukraine.
Today is a historic day. We are taking back the south of the country, we are taking back Kherson, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed in his daily address published on social networks.
Special forces are already in the city, he added, noting that their first job would be to neutralize the many mines left by the Russian army, which had occupied Kherson since mid-March.
A video posted to Telegram by Volodymyr Zelensky, purporting to be from Kherson, showed Ukrainian servicemen claiming to be from the 28th Brigade cheered on at night by a crowd chanting V-C-U, the acronym for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
< p class="e-p">We see pleasant, smiling faces, flowers, embroidered towels with which we welcome our vehicles, told AFP Andriï Jolob, commander of a medical unit which is currently about fifty kilometers from Kherson, reached by telephone from Warsaw.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry, for its part, called on Facebook, in Russian, for the Russian soldiers who remained there to surrender immediately.< /p>
This Russian withdrawal is the third in magnitude since the start of the invasion on February 24, Russia having had to give up in the spring to take kyiv in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance, before being driven out of almost all of the Kharkiv region (northeast) in September.
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In Kyiv, 26-year-old IT worker Sergei told AFP he had tears of joy. This is a blow for Putin, rejoiced for his part Isak Danilotvich, mathematician.
In the evening, on the emblematic Maidan square in kyiv, residents of Kherson who had been refugees for months in the capital met in jubilation. Our soldiers are gods (…) We have been waiting for this moment for nine months, Kherson belongs to Ukraine and this forever!, enthused Artem Lukiv, 41, while champagne corks popped and the national anthem was sung.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted to welcome Kherson's return to Ukraine , an important step towards the full restoration of its sovereign rights.
Volodymyr Zelensky also expressed his gratitude to Europe for the constant support that Ukraine has received since the first hours of the Russian invasion.
A Ukrainian soldier waves the national flag in the village of Klapaya in the Kherson region.
Earlier on Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had finished at 5 a.m. Moscow the redeployment of its units from the right (west) bank of the Dnieper River, where the city of Kherson is located, to the left bank, ensuring that they have not suffered any loss or abandoned military equipment.
According to Moscow, more than 30,000 Russian soldiers and almost 5,000 units of armaments and military vehicles have been withdrawn from the western bank of the Dnieper.
This withdrawal, however, has everything snub, Russian President Vladimir Putin having claimed at the end of September the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, including that of Kherson.
Despite this retreat, the area remains a subject of the Russian Federation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. There can be no change, he added, in the Russian presidency's first comment on this retreat.
The state news agency Ria Novosti released nighttime footage of Russian military vehicles leaving Kherson, indicating that they were crossing the Antonivsky Bridge spanning the Dnieper.
Several Russian correspondents then indicated, with supporting images, that part of the viaduct had been dynamited by the Russian army after its withdrawal to obstruct the progress of Ukrainian troops.
Russia, however, continued to carry out strikes across Ukraine, some of whose energy infrastructure has been destroyed in recent weeks.
A strike was again targeted on the night of Thursday to Friday Mykolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine about a hundred kilometers northwest of Kherson. A five-storey apartment building there was completely destroyed in a strike that left at least seven people dead, according to the head of the regional administration, Vitaliy Kim. The Ukrainian president denounced on Telegram a cynical response of the (Russian) terrorist state to our successes on the front.
An AFP journalist on the spot has was able to see a gutted building and the emergency services exploring the rubble.
The governor also announced on Friday evening that the region was now completely liberated.
On the eastern front, the fighting also continues to rage, particularly in Bakhmout, a city that Moscow has been trying to conquer since the summer and the main battlefield where the Russian army, supported by the men of the paramilitary group Wagner, remains on the offensive.
As we approach the G20 summit of world economic powers scheduled for next week in Indonesia and where Vladimir Putin has given up on surrender, the French presidency wanted to see the possibility of a dialogue.
There is a very clear space at the G20 to carry a message of peace and ask Russia to enter into the logic of de-escalation, said an adviser to President Emmanuel Macron.
A very large majority within the club (of the G20) considers that this war is enormous and unbearable for the rest of the world.
The Ukrainian president, however, repeated this week that the first condition for a he negotiation was the complete withdrawal of Russian troops, which entered Ukraine on February 24.