Russia Ukraine: Kyiv celebrates the entry of its forces into the city of Kherson, and the Kremlin denies “defeat”

HipHop24  - HipHop24
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the entry of his forces into Kherson, after the withdrawal of Russian forces from it, as a “historic day”.

Jubilant crowds welcomed the soldiers, who seemed to have taken over from the Russian occupation without firing a shot.

Zelensky said special forces are now in the city center, while others are waiting on the outskirts of the city.

The Kremlin has said that all of its forces have now withdrawn to the eastern bank of the Dnieper, but it continues to stress that this is not a defeat.

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The Ukrainian president said Kherson was “our city”.

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In his evening speech, Zelensky said that Kherson residents were “waiting” and “never gave up on Ukraine”.

He added that residents were working to remove “any traces of the occupiers’ survival” from the streets, including Russian symbols.

“Kherson is returning to Ukrainian control. Units of Ukrainian forces are entering the city,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry wrote on Facebook, calling on the remaining Russian soldiers to “surrender immediately.”

The Russian Defense Ministry announced the end of the “redeployment” of its forces on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, with the confirmation of the withdrawal of more than 30,000 Russian soldiers from Kherson, which is a strategic point in the war.

The ministry added in a statement that the forces “did not leave behind any weapon, and that all soldiers crossed the river, without any loss of life or equipment.”

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The Russian state news agency, RIA Novosti, broadcast pictures of Russian military vehicles leaving Kherson, noting that they were crossing the Antonovsky Bridge over the Dnipro River.

Kherson residents carry the flags of Ukraine
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Kherson residents carry the flags of Ukraine

A number of Russian correspondents said that the bridge was destroyed, without clarifying whether the Russian army dynamited it or whether it was destroyed as a result of the Ukrainian strikes.

And the BBC verified video recordings showing the residents of Kherson celebrating the departure of the Russian army, in Tahrir Square, with Ukrainian soldiers.

On Friday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry welcomed the announcement of Russia’s withdrawal from the region, describing it as an “important victory.”

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The Russian Defense Ministry announced the withdrawal of 30,000 soldiers from Kherson

Russia denies defeat
The Kremlin denied that the withdrawal of its forces from Kherson was a “defeat”, saying that the withdrawal was a decision taken by the Ministry of Defense.

As for Kyiv, commented on the field development in a victorious tone, saying: “It is the second most powerful army in the world, escaping on foot.”

Before the Defense Ministry announced, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov avoided answering journalists’ questions about the situation in southern Ukraine, and asked them to direct their questions to the Minister of Defense, but said that the Kherson region would remain “belonging to the Russian Federation.”

BBC correspondent Will Vermon Peskov asked what the Kremlin thinks of the withdrawal from Kherson as a painful blow to Putin’s prestige, but rather an insult to him.

Peskov’s answer was: “There are many experts, some of them agree with what you said, others think otherwise. We do not want to comment on the matter, and the special military operation is continuing.”

He pointed out that the Russian presidency “does not regret” the grand celebration during which Vladimir Putin announced in September the annexation of four Ukrainian regions to Russia, including Kherson.

turning point
The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams says that if Ukraine takes control of Kherson, it will be an important turning point in the war.

Adams believes that the winds have not flowed according to Russia’s desire during the past months, starting with the sinking of one of its important warships in the Black Sea, and the bombing of the bridge between Russia and Crimea, which raises many questions about what winter brings.

The Ukrainians fear that the withdrawing Russian forces will set a trap for them upon their return, and therefore they are cautious in any step they take.

On the other hand, BBC Monitoring monitored the opinions of Russian commentators in support of the war on the communication sites, as they expressed their shock at the withdrawal, and some of them even said that it was the worst defeat that Russia had suffered since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Wagner builds fortifications
Meanwhile, fighting continues on the eastern front especially in Bakhmut, the city that Moscow has been trying to occupy since the summer and the main battlefield where the Russian army, backed by elements of the Wagner paramilitary group, is still on the offensive.

In this context, the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced Friday that his organization will train militias and build fortifications in two regions of Russia on the border with Ukraine.

And the media office of Prigozhin’s Concorde company quoted him as saying, “The Wagner private military company helps and will assist the residents of the border regions (in Ukraine) to receive training, build facilities, prepare them and organize militias.”

The goal, according to Prigozhin, is to build “fortifications and training centers for militia members in the border areas.”

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