Ukrainians dance in Kherson’s streets at the end of Russia’s months-long occupation

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Top Stories

Enlarge this image

Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister (center), signs a Ukrainian flag belonging to a local resident in Kherson on Monday. “Ukraine’s success depends on two points,” Malyar told NPR. “First our strength, our ability to fight. And second, the weapons that we receive from our partners,” referring to the United States and other Western nations.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Jason Beaubien/NPR

KHERSON, Ukraine — Since Russian troops pulled out of Kherson last week, the city’s Liberty Square has taken on a carnival atmosphere. Residents now regularly converge on the main square to celebrate the end of more than 8 1/2 months of Russian occupation. People draped in yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flags dance, chant and sing patriotic songs. Children and grownups are giddy. “We are so happy right now!” says 65-year-old Valentyna Banishevska. “Before [the Russian withdrawal], Kherson was like a ghost city. No one was in the streets. People were scared.” Russia’s Defense Ministry last week ordered its estimated 30,000 troops in western Kherson to retreat to the east bank of the Dnipro River. On Friday, the Ukrainian military began entering the strategic southern port city and were met with jubilant crowds. “The first time I saw cars waving Ukrainian flags last week, I didn’t believe it,” Banishevska says. “We thought it was some kind of provocation. We didn’t believe.”

Enlarge this image

Sixty-five-year-old Kherson resident Valentyna Banishevska in Kherson on Monday. “We are so happy right now!” she told NPR. “Before [the Russian withdrawal], Kherson was like a ghost city. No one was in the streets. People were scared.” Banishevska says when she realized Kherson was actually liberated, she and her neighbors danced in the streets.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Jason Beaubien/NPR

Under Russian occupation, residents only had access to Russian internet, Russian television and Russian cellphone service. Communicating with relatives or friends in other parts of Ukraine, residents say, was nearly impossible — as was getting accurate information about the war.

Banishevska says when she realized Kherson was actually liberated, she and her neighbors danced in the streets. The president made a surprise visit On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an unannounced visit to Kherson and triumphantly walked the city’s streets. He was greeted by hundreds of people shouting his name and “Glory to Ukraine!”

Later, Zelenskyy said the fall of the strategic southern port city was a key moment in the war. “We are coming step by step to all the temporarily occupied territories of our country,” he said. “It is difficult, it is a long and hard path. The best heroes of our country are in this war.”

Enlarge this image

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zel …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This