Zelensky visits liberated Kherson and hails ‘beginning of the end of the war’

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (Genya Savilov, Pool Photo via AP) Genya Savilov/AP

Zelensky visits liberated Kherson and hails ‘beginning of the end of the war’

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the recently liberated city of Kherson on Monday, just days after the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed its intentions to retreat from the only city center they were occupying.

The liberation of Kherson, a city in the south that is considered a key region for its proximity to Crimea and the nearby waterways, is “the beginning of the end of the war,” the president said on Monday while addressing several hundred people in the central square, according to the Washington Post.

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“I think they ran because our army threatened the enemy and they were in grave danger,” Zelensky said of the Russians. “There were intense fights. And here is the result: We are here today in Kherson,” adding, “The price of this victory is considered very high.”

Ukrainian officials have begun investigating possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in Kherson now that the Russian occupiers have retreated, which is the latest in a string of similar horrors that have been uncovered once Russians retreated from an occupied territory.

Zelensky estimated that there were “hundreds” of war crimes committed in the Kherson region.

His arrival in Kherson demonstrates the continued positive attitude toward the war and fighting off Russian forces, which has gone on for months longer than was expected at the start of the invasion.

The Kremlin reiterated over the weekend that Kherson remains a part of the Russian Federation, in line with their annexation of the region, and three others, which were in violation of international law. Once Russian forces withdrew days ago, Ukrainians took to the streets to celebrate their departure, providing additional context that demonstrates the initial annexation vote, which was overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia, had been faked.

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The winter climate is not ideal for the methods Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaging with one another, possibly providing an opportunity for both sides to seek a diplomatic ending to the war.

Last week, Zelensky laid out his five components needed for any deal: “Restoration of territorial integrity, respect for the U.N. Charter, compensation for all damages caused by the war, punishment of every war criminal, and guarantees that this will not happen again.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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