BLAHODATNE, Ukraine – Ukrainian troops were greeted by joyous residents in the center of Kherson on Friday, November 11, after Russia abandoned the only regional capital it had captured since its invasion in February.
Russia said it had withdrawn 30,000 troops across the Dnipro River without losing a single soldier, but Ukrainians painted a picture of a chaotic retreat, with Russian troops ditching their uniforms, abandoning weapons and drowning while trying to flee.
Video footage verified by Reuters showed dozens of Ukrainians cheering and chanting victory slogans in Kherson’s central square, where the apparent first Ukrainian troops to arrive snapped selfies in the crowd.
Two men lifted a female soldier on their shoulders and tossed her into the air. Some residents wrapped themselves in Ukrainian flags. One man was weeping with joy.
Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency said Kherson was returning to Ukrainian control and ordered any remaining Russian troops to surrender to Ukrainian forces entering the city.
Locals had placed Ukrainian flags in the square as news of the end of more than eight months of occupation filtered out.
“Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to the Nation!” o