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Ukrainian Military Liberates City of Kherson

The Russian retreat from this strategic city in the southern region of the country represents another historic victory for Ukraine.
Ukrainian Military Liberates City of Kherson

In extraordinary scenes, crowds of jubilant residents greeted Ukraine’s armed forces as they reached the center of Kherson, as Russia’s retreat from the key strategic city appeared to have descended into chaos, reports the Guardian.  

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, hailed a "historic day" as he confirmed on Friday evening that special units of armed forces were already in the city and others stationed on its approaches. "We are in the process of taking Kherson back."

Ukraine troops enter center of Kherson as Russians retreat in chaos (Guardian)

Excerpt from the Guardian: A crowd of residents, some tearful, earlier raised Ukrainian flags around the central Svoboda Square, and gathered to greet the first troops to reach the city center, embracing the arriving Ukrainian soldiers. Chanting "Glory to the ZSU [Ukraine’s armed forces]," two men picked up one female soldier on their shoulders and tossed her into the air. Other residents wrapped themselves in Ukrainian flags, as one man wept with joy. Elsewhere, crowds lining Kherson’s streets unfurled a giant blue and yellow banner as cars took to the streets honking their horns in celebration. Confirming the liberation of the city, the country’s defence ministry announced on social media: "Kherson is returning to Ukrainian control and units of the armed forces of Ukraine are entering the city." The scenes unfolded at the end of an emotionally charged and dramatic 24 hours in which Russian forces pulled back from the city – the only major city Moscow had managed to take in almost nine months of war – in disarray and Ukrainian forces advanced through the suburbs to the historic heart of Kherson.
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According to BBC News, when Kherson is fully back in Ukrainian hands, which now only seems a matter of time, this will represent a hugely consequential moment in a war now in its ninth month.

Kherson biggest Russian loss since withdrawal from outside Kyiv (BBC News)

Excerpt from BBC News: The loss of Kherson is on a par with Russia's humiliating withdrawal from its positions outside the capital Kyiv earlier in the year, and caps a stunning three-month change of fortunes for the Ukrainians. Nothing has gone Russia's way for months. They've lost huge swathes of territory in the east, the flagship of their Black Sea fleet has been sunk and a crucial bridge from Russia to occupied Crimea is still out of action. Now Russian forces have been forced to abandon the only provincial capital they had managed to capture since February's full invasion. Just like the failed capture of Kyiv, holding on to Kherson simply became untenable. This is the culmination of a patient, carefully-staged sequence of military moves, which began in July when Ukrainian forces, using newly-acquired American Himars rocket systems, attacked key bridges linking Russian forces in and around Kherson with their supply lines to the east and south. Having isolated Russian forces, and convinced Moscow that Kherson was about to be attacked, Kyiv then launched its lightning offensive far to the north-east, around Kharkiv, taking Moscow completely by surprise. But Kherson was always the big prize.
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Ukrainian forces raising their flag in central Kherson city on Friday cemented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most consequential political and military defeat in his ill-fated, 8½-month-old war, writes the Washington Post.

Loss of Kherson city shatters Putin’s war goals in Ukraine (Washington Post)

Excerpt from the Washington Post: Kherson was the sole Ukrainian regional capital that Russian forces had managed to capture since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, and relinquishing the city to Kyiv shattered the illusion of control Putin tried to create by staging referendums and illegally declaring Kherson and three other regions — Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia — to be annexed and absorbed into Russia. Although Russian forces still control the broader Kherson region, which forms part of Putin’s coveted "land bridge" from mainland Russia to illegally annexed Crimea, forfeiting the capital city is a stunning blow after repeated, blustery declarations by pro-Kremlin figures that Russia would stay in Kherson "forever." Moscow’s hard-line pro-war faction, including nationalist military bloggers, called the surrender of the city a "betrayal" and a "black day." The retreat from Kherson city is the latest in a string of military collapses for Putin.
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