Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson a ‘significant victory’ for Ukraine, Biden says

Russia Ukraine Abducted Mayors
FILE – Russian soldiers guard an area as a group of foreign journalists visit in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. In the southern city of Kherson, one of the first seized by Russia and a key target of an unfolding Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Ukrainian mayor tried to stand his ground. As Russians seized parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in the 8-month-old war, mayors, civilian administrators and others, including nuclear power plant workers, say they have been abducted, threatened or beaten to force their cooperation. (AP Photo, File) AP

Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson a ‘significant victory’ for Ukraine, Biden says

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President Joe Biden described Russian forces’ withdrawal from Kherson, the strategic southern city, as a “significant victory” for Ukraine.

The president discussed the Ukrainians’ liberation of Kherson, which took place over the weekend, on Monday during a press conference after his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

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“I can do nothing but applaud the courage, determination, and capacity of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian military,” the president explained. “I mean, they have really been amazing. I think it’s hard to tell at this point exactly what it means — but I’ve been very clear that we’re going to continue to provide a capability for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves and we are not going to engage in any negotiation, there’s no — nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. It’s a decision Ukraine has to make.”

He also said he believes the fighting on the front lines will “slow down a bit” in the winter months as the conditions get worse.

Kherson is located where the Dnieper River meets the Black Sea, and it was the only regional capital that Russian forces had captured and occupied, and they had been in Kherson since the start of the war, which began last February.

The Kremlin has reiterated that Kherson remains a part of the Russian Federation in recent days, in line with their annexation of the region, and another three, that they announced this fall, which were in violation of international law. Following their withdrawal days ago, Ukrainians took to the streets to celebrate their departure, further demonstrating that the initial annexation vote which was overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia had been fabricated.

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“This is a subject of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. “There are no changes in this and there cannot be changes.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson on Monday and said it was “the beginning of the end of the war.” Efforts began over the weekend to identify and record Russian atrocities in Kherson, a common occurrence in the cities and regions that Russian forces had occupied but later retreated.

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