IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES – Photos and videos have multiplied since Friday, showing the incredible fervor of the inhabitants of the city of Kherson during the entry of the first Ukrainian troops since the departure of the Russians.
A tide in blue and yellow, entering as if in a trance in a collective jubilation punctuated by cries and songs: this is the almost biblical picture that awaited Friday evening the first Ukrainian soldiers who entered the city of Kherson, deserted by the Russians after nine months of occupation. On social networks, the images and videos of this patriotic fervor say something about the emotion felt by the inhabitants (those, at least, favorable to the Ukrainian regime) when the only regional capital of the provinces claimed by Russia to have been actually occupied since the beginning of the war.
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In these festive images, the Ukrainian national anthem can be heard here and there, while the inhabitants try to crowd in front of the soldiers to congratulate them on this highly symbolic victory – one of the most humiliating retreats in to which the Russian army has had to consent to date.
Scenes of jubilation after the liberation of Kherson
In their enthusiasm, the inhabitants also insisted on ransacking the symbols of the Russian occupation, like this gigantic poster plastered on a billboard, in the colors of the Russian Federation (which continues to claim Kherson as part of its national territory) : “Russia is here forever“. Ukrainians climbed a ladder to tear down the sign showing a young girl waving the Russian flag.
On other images, we see the support of the population who remained on the spot (a significant part of the civilians left the city during the occupation, others were evacuated before the withdrawal of the Russian troops) to the soldiers who came to hoist the colors of Ukraine on top of the city’s public monuments.
These festive scenes continued late into the night, sometimes in complete darkness, as the city is without electricity. In places, the inhabitants lit campfires to continue their festivities. On images broadcast by the armed forces of kyiv, Ukrainians dance in a circle, around a fire, to the rhythm of “Chervona Kalyna», a patriotic song.
Then the day after the recapture of Kherson, it was time on Saturday for mine clearance, infrastructure repair and documentation of “crimes” attributable to Moscow in the great southern city, the loss of which constitutes a major setback for the Kremlin. The head of the Ukrainian military administration of the Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanouchevych, published several videos on Saturday in which he said to himself “very happy to be here (in Kherson) today, at this historic moment“. He said everything was done for “return to normal life“. Behind him, people massed in the main square celebrate the return of Ukrainian forces to the city. Not far away, in the village of Pravdyné, returning residents hug their neighbors. Some can’t hold back their tears.
This Russian withdrawal is the third on a scale since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, Russia having had to give up in the spring to take kyiv in the face of fierce resistance from the Ukrainians, before being driven out of almost all of the Kharkiv region (northeast) in September. In the evening, on the emblematic Maidan square in kyiv, residents of Kherson who had been refugees for months in the capital also found themselves in jubilation.
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