Ukrainians celebrate in streets of Kherson following Russian withdrawal

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Ukrainians gather in central Kyiv to celebrate the recapturing of Kherson city, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) Bernat Armangue/AP

Ukrainians celebrate in streets of Kherson following Russian withdrawal

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Videos posted on social media showed Ukrainians taking to the streets of Kherson to celebrate the arrival of the Ukrainian army following a Russian withdrawal.

Kherson, the first major city taken by Russia in the early days of its February invasion, has long been a goal of Ukrainian forces, being the target of countless major offensives.

After months of intense fighting with little gains, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced it would be completely withdrawing from the right bank of the Dnieper River on the suggestion of new commander Sergei Suvorikin, citing the danger of its forces being cut off in the event of the destruction of the Kakhovskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant dam, according to Tass.

While initially cautious, Ukrainian forces entered the city on Friday, greeted by crowds of cheering civilians.

The crowds cheered “Glory to the armed forces!” videos published by the Kyiv Independent show.

UKRAINIAN CIVILIANS RAISE FLAG IN KHERSON AS RUSSIA RETREATS: REPORTS

https://twitter.com/KyivIndependent/status/1591066758592761857?s=20&t=iSSzeV6rg_586r7CDj1O-w

Convoys of cars honking their horns and waving the Ukrainian flag also joined in on the celebrations, as did groups carrying long banners of the Ukrainian flag.

https://twitter.com/guillaume_ptak/status/1591069646161317889?s=20&t=iSSzeV6rg_586r7CDj1O-w

The Russians reportedly left little of value for the arriving Ukrainian forces; the city’s power lines were cut, leaving the city completely without power. Jubilant Ukrainian civilians lit bonfires to keep the celebrations going into the night, singing Ukrainian nationalist songs that had been banned under Russian occupation.

https://twitter.com/yarotrof/status/1591100046635929608?s=20&t=iSSzeV6rg_586r7CDj1O-w https://twitter.com/Gerashchenko_en/status/1591161658256523266?s=20&t=iSSzeV6rg_586r7CDj1O-w

The crowds appear to be almost unanimously pro-Ukrainian, as Russia had spent much of the previous month evacuating nearly all of the pro-Russian civilians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined in the celebrations.

“Today is a historic day. We are regaining Kherson. Our defenders are approaching the city. Special units are already in the city. The people of Kherson were waiting. They never gave up on Ukraine. Hope for Ukraine is always justified and Ukraine always regains its own,” he said.

The Kremlin was unusually silent on the matter, directing questions to the Ministry of Defense, who made the decision, Tass reported. However, several officials promised that Russian forces would return, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov insisted that Kherson was still a subject of the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Russians shared their anger and anguish on social media, including some who claim to have taken part in the original capture of the city.

“This day is hard for me personally. The entire administration of our channel participated in the capture of Kherson and the region,” one Russian Telegram channel said. “My personal day of shame and anger.”

https://twitter.com/mdfzeh/status/1591089699807952896?s=20&t=zV0Lp8p0K38FgL1DLH25YA

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Another video posted to social media showed one Russian National Bolshevik activist (a radical party originally founded by controversial Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin) condemning the Russian high command for the withdrawal with a strong gesture, cutting her arm to express her anger.

“This blood is the blood of the Russian people,” she said as the blood trickled down from her arm. “Blood of people from Kherson, whom you betrayed. This is the blood of our fighters, spilled for nothing. This blood is on you. Putin, Shoigu, Suvorikin, this blood is on you! We will not forgive you for this.”

https://twitter.com/wartranslated/status/1591102458256044033?s=20&t=iSSzeV6rg_586r7CDj1O-w

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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