Ukraine celebrates Russian retreat from city of Kherson: Live updates

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 3.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 3. Ruslan Kaniuka/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Friday was “a historic day” for Ukraine after Russia announced its withdrawal from the west bank of the Kherson region.

“We are returning the south of our country, we are returning Kherson,” Zelensky said.

The president talked about the appearance of Ukrainian flags in the city even before the military arrived, saying, “I am happy to see how people, despite all the threats, despite the repressions, abuse of the occupiers, kept Ukrainian flags, believed in Ukraine.”

Earlier Friday, Zelensky noted the moment on his Telegram account with a video from Kherson and the caption: “Ours. Kherson is ours.”

Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the military units involved in the operation — “absolutely everyone, from privates to generals, the Armed Forces, intelligence, the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Guard — all those who brought this day closer for Kherson region.”

He said stabilization measures would follow due to the threat of mines. “The occupiers left a lot of mines and explosives, in particular at vital facilities. We will be clearing them,” he said.

“Our defenders are followed by police, sappers, rescuers, power engineers … Medicine, communications, social services are returning. … Life is returning,” he said.

Officials also on Friday warned displaced residents to hold off on returning to their homes in the newly retaken areas of Kherson, saying, “It’s too dangerous here now.”

In neighboring Mykolaiv region: The head of the regional military administration of Mykolaiv visited the small city of Snihurivka Friday to discuss “the restoration of life in the liberated territories of the region.”

“We are already working on providing the liberated communities with electricity and communication and restoring the TV signal. Tomorrow we expect to replenish warehouses with humanitarian aid for the population,” said the leader, Vitalii Kim.

He commended hospital staff in the city for working through the Russian occupation.

He also urged locals to beware of any explosives left behind by the Russians.

“Despite the fact that the relevant services have already started (removing mines in) the liberated territories, I warn local residents to be careful,” Kim added.

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