Kherson, Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the newly liberated city of Kherson on Monday, following the retreat of Russian forces from the strategic hub, a source in Zelensky’s office told AFP.
The visit came just days after Ukrainian troops entered the city — the Kherson region’s administrative centre — after Russia pulled back its forces on Friday.
Zelensky said late on Sunday that Ukrainian forces who retook Kherson city found evidence of hundreds of new “war crimes” carried out by Russian occupiers.
Ukrainians in the liberated city expressed relief at the end of months of occupation.
The city of Kherson was the first major urban hub to fall after Russia invaded in February.
Its full recapture opens a gateway for Ukraine to the entire Kherson region, with access to both the Black Sea in the west and the Sea of Azov in the east.
The region was one of four that the Kremlin announced in September were annexed and part of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to use all available means to defend them from Ukrainian forces.
Menawhile, Kremlin insisted that Kherson was still part of Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We leave this without comment,” adding however, “You know, this territory is part of the Russian Federation.”