Relief and hope of victory overshadowed somewhat in Kherson due to the difficult humanitarian situation left by Russian forces in their withdrawal, although the majority of Ukrainians celebrated the regaining of control of the city. “Before fleeing Kherson, the passengers destroyed all vital infrastructure: communications, water, heating and electricity,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday (11/12/2022) in a video.
He promised, “(The Russians) everywhere have the same goal: to humiliate people as much as possible. But we will take everything back, believe me.” Zelensky said that Ukrainian forces had taken control of more than 60 settlements in the Kherson region. The devastation left by the city is casting a shadow over celebrations of the liberation of the only major regional center that Russia has captured since the start of the country’s invasion, more than eight months ago.
Social networks and media outlets were flooded with images of watermelon, a star product and semi-identity brand for Kherson, and videos of crowds of citizens waving national flags across the liberated city. Also in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, where the restoration of the city was much celebrated. But many Ukrainians are aware of the enormous challenge ahead. Olga Afanasyeva, a displaced Kherson resident, explains to Effie that her main concern now is how all the people who will not be able to survive the harsh winter in that hard-hit city will be evacuated. One colleague adds: “There is no light, no water, no fuel.”
The city’s mayor’s advisor, Roman Golovnia, also explained today on Ukrainian television that the humanitarian situation in the city is “difficult.” The lack of water is the most pressing problem, since its supply was completely disrupted by the deliberate destruction of the Russians in their retreat. He adds that despite this, some vehicles carrying humanitarian aid have arrived in the city.
According to sources in the National Resistance Movement, about 15,000 objects were looted from the Kherson Art Museum and other cultural institutions, to be transferred to Simferopol, in an area occupied by the Russians. In addition, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yury Ignat, warned that Russia could launch a massive new missile attack. “Events are approaching, the G20 summit [los próximos 14 y 15 de este mes]. “They (the Russians) are very fond of provocations on such days,” he told Ukrainian television.
Russia, for its part, tried today to remove iron from the withdrawal of its forces, a maneuver that will allow the Russian leadership to strengthen the other fronts. The Russian Defense Ministry in its daily report did not even mention the withdrawal. But the British daily report describes it as a “strategic failure”. Its chief official, Pavel Filippchuk, reported today that the administration set up by Russia in the Kazhovka region, in the part of the Kherson region located on the left bank of the Dnieper, was also evacuated today more than 15 kilometers from the river.