“Today is a historic day. We are getting the south of the country back, we are getting Kherson back,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Friday evening video address.
Ukrainian soldiers found abandoned weapons and ammunition in a village near the southern city of Kherson on Friday (November 11), as Russian troops retreated from the western bank of the Dnipro river.
Reuters reporters on Friday saw a warehouse full of mortar shells and boxes containing ammunition left behind by Russian troops in the village of Blahodatne, 20 km (12 miles) north of Kherson. Villagers said about 100 Russians had held the village for eight months and throughout the occupation broke into vacant homes and looted them, removing furniture, televisions, stoves and refrigerators.
They had killed a man who approached too close to their trenches and taken away two other men and a young woman whose fate remains unknown. The villagers said that the Russians withdrew in trucks without a fight on Wednesday night, and Ukrainian troops moved in on Thursday.
Russia’s abandoned military positions in Kherson have provided rich pickings for advancing Ukrainian troops with large amounts of ammunition reportedly abandoned in the Kremlin’s hasty retreat from the southern city. Ukraine’s armed forces secured the city after the Russian army withdrew.
Pointing to stacks of ammunition boxed, a Sky News correspondent explains: “This is where the Russians were.
“They’ve left an enormous amount of ammunition. Crate after crate just dumped.
“They left here about 24 hours ago they just simply vanished from this place.
“But you can see all the bombs down here that they’ve left. It’s been taken over now by Ukrainian soldiers.”
On Friday Ukrainian troops began to enter the liberated city of Kherson in the south of Ukraine after Russian troops began a large-scale withdrawal.
The retreat from Kherson is the latest in a series of serious military setbacks for Moscow following the recapture of large swathes of the Kharkiv oblast by the Armed forces of Ukraine.
In Kherson, Ukrainian soldiers were greeted by crowds waving the national flag and chanting ‘Glory to Ukraine.’
A Ukrainian regional official, Serhii Khlan, disputed the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim that the 30,000 retreating troops took all 5,000 pieces of equipment with them, saying “a lot” of hardware got left behind.
The final Russian withdrawal came six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed the Kherson region and three other Ukrainian provinces, vowing they would remain Russian forever.
Moscow’s forces still control about 70 percent of the Kherson region following the pullback ordered amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The Kremlin remained defiant Friday, insisting the withdrawal in no way represented an embarrassment for Putin. Moscow continues to view the entire Kherson region as part of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He added that the Kremlin doesn’t regret holding festivities just over a month ago to celebrate the annexation of occupied or partially occupied regions of Ukraine, deferring all questions about the Kherson withdrawal to the Defense Ministry.
Late Wednesday, Milley estimated that about 200,000 soldiers — 100,000 Russian troops and 100,000 Ukrainian troops — had been killed in the fighting so far, Reuters reported. Milley said about 40,000 civilians caught up in the fighting have also been killed.
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