Ukraine celebrates the retaking of the strategic city of Kherson from Russia on Friday in a major setback in Vladimir Putin’s military invasion.
Ukrainian soldiers were welcomed into Kherson by jubilant residents after Russia said it had fully withdrawn from the key southern city.
Videos showed locals on the streets flying Ukraine’s national flag and chanting as Kyiv’s troops arrived. Some sang patriotic songs around a large campfire well into the night.
— olexander scherba🇺🇦 (@olex_scherba) November 11, 2022
We will never abandon those who are caught in the jaws of a monster. We will fight for each and every one of our beautiful-as-the-universe people. pic.twitter.com/Gh31K0RFWY
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 12, 2022
There have also been celebrations around the country, including in Kyiv and Odesa.
OK, so some say we are made of steel… but somehow our eyes can still tear up. pic.twitter.com/401UecXa9n
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 11, 2022
World hails Ukraine’s victory against Russia at Kherson
The US has hailed Ukraine’s “extraordinary victory” in recapturing the city from the Russians. President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the only regional capital that Moscow had been able to seize in this war was back under a Ukrainian flag.
Ukraine’s President Volodymir Zelensky described the day as “historic” while Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the Ukrainians are winning the battles on the ground but that the war continues.
— Vasco Cotovio (@VascoCNN) November 12, 2022
The Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry welcomed the liberation of Kherson, “a city with a Greek name,” by Ukrainian forces, in a statement on Friday evening. The ministry added that Greece supports the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and of all states.
This setback is significant for Moscow. Kherson was the first major city captured by the Russian military after the invasion began in February. The city’s loss poses operational and strategic difficulties for the Russian military and will make it harder for Putin to present the illusion of success in Ukraine.
The decision to withdraw Russian forces became public on Wednesday during a televised military briefing aired on Russia 24, a state-owned Russian news channel.
During the televised event, the overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine Sergey Surovikin addressed the Russian minister of defense, Sergei Shoigu.
Surovikin stressed the need to withdraw from Kherson and take up a new defensive position. He told Shoigu, “I have assessed the situation, and I propose creating a defense along the left bank of the Dnipro.”
Russia declares another city in Ukraine capital of Kherson Oblast
The state-owned Russian news agency Tass is reporting that Alexander Fomin, one of the members of the Russian-imposed administration in occupied Kherson Oblast, has said Henichesk has been declared the temporary administrative capital of Kherson. The region is one of the areas that the Russian Federation has claimed to have annexed.
He said, “All the main authorities are concentrated there.”
Henichesk, a port city on the sea of Azov, has been occupied since February 27th. It is quite close to the border with the Crimea region but a significant distance from the city of Kherson and the Dnipro River.