Volodymyr Zelenskyy toured Kherson and declared the liberation of the city “the beginning of the end of the war”

KEY POINTS
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the southern city of Kherson after Russian troops withdrew last week.
  • The city is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster as many residents approach winter without electricity or water.
  • Mr. Zelenskyy has vowed to press ahead and retake the remaining occupied territories in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walked the streets of the newly liberated city of Kherson, hailing the Russian withdrawal as “the beginning of the end of the war.”
He also acknowledged Monday the high price Ukrainian troops are paying to push the invaders back.
was one of Ukraine’s biggest successes in the nearly nine-month-old war and dealt another blow to the Kremlin. It could serve as a springboard for further advances into occupied territory.
President Joe Biden called it a “significant victory” for Ukraine.

“I cannot help but applaud the courage, determination and capability of the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian army,” he said on the sidelines of a 20-nation summit in Indonesia.

Large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine are still under Russian control, and . Fierce fighting continued elsewhere in the country on Monday.
In Kherson, Mr. Zelenskyy awarded medals to soldiers and posed with them for selfies while striking a defiant tone.
“This is the beginning of the end of the war,” he said. “We are coming step by step to all the temporarily occupied territories.
But he also mournfully noted that the fighting “took the best heroes of our country”.
The end of the Russian occupation of the city has . But as winter approaches, its residents are without heat, water and electricity, and lack food and medicine.
President Zelenskyy poses for a photo with Ukrainian soldiers

President Zelenskyy admitted that the battle “took the best heroes of our country”. Source: Getty / Photo courtesy of the Ukrainian government

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned during a visit to The Hague that “we should not make the mistake of underestimating Russia”.

“The Russian military has significant capabilities as well as large numbers of soldiers, and Russia has shown its willingness to take significant losses,” he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Mr. Zelenskyy’s visit, saying only that “you know it is Russian territory.” Russia earlier this year.

Residents said Russian soldiers looted the city when they left last week. They also destroyed key infrastructure before retreating across the wide Dnipro River to the east bank.

One Ukrainian official described the situation in Kherson as a “humanitarian disaster”.
Mr. Biden said he expected things to slow down somewhat militarily “because of the winter months and the inability to move around the country as easily.”
Over the past two months, Ukraine’s military said it had recaptured dozens of towns and villages north of the city of Kherson, a key gateway to Crimea in the south – an area illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

But the escalating war continued – with shelling, civilian casualties and each side reporting gains.

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