After the liberation, Kherson residents now face severe shortages and mines



CNN

Residents of the newly liberated city of Kherson are nearly without water and are facing shortages of bread and medicine, officials warned, while efforts to clear mines and restore critical infrastructure following the withdrawal of Russian forces continued on Sunday. .

The crowd celebrated the liberation of the city on Saturday after Ukrainian forces entered the city and Russian troops withdrew to the east.

But life remains far from normal, with authorities warning residents to be wary of the explosives blanketing the city and Russian forces still nearby, just across the strategically important Dnipro River.

This is not the end of the fight against Russian occupation in the country, reports Nic Robertson of CNN, who on Saturday witnessed emotional scenes in Kherson’s central square as residents greeted their release.

“Kherson is now a frontline city,” he said. “Last night and in the early hours of this morning you could hear the fires coming out towards the Russian forces”.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian national police warned that “the main threat at the moment is mass mining,” with a police representative injured while clearing one of the city’s administrative buildings.

Nearly 2,000 “explosive objects”, such as mines, electric cables and unexploded ammunition, have already been removed from the Kherson region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in his Saturday night speech. He urged the residents of Kherson “to be careful and not to try to independently check buildings and objects left behind by the occupants”.

“There are 10 bomb disposal expert groups working in Kherson, the police are working and there are various defense force units,” Zelensky said.

Meanwhile, the preconditions for a dire humanitarian situation are unfolding in the city, where electricity is cut off and access to food and water is limited.

“There is practically no water in the city. There is a shortage of medicines, there is a shortage of bread, which is not produced due to a lack of electricity. There are also problems with food supplies, “Roman Golovnya, adviser to the mayor of Kherson, said in a television broadcast on Saturday.

Kherson residents collect water from a well after Ukrainian forces liberate the city.

Infrastructure suffered an unwelcome blow: Zelensky said that “before fleeing Kherson, the occupiers destroyed all critical infrastructure: communications, water supply, heating, electricity”.

Weather conditions are getting tougher, with sub-zero temperatures at night, reports the CNN team in the city of Kherson, and no heating in the city. Ukrainian authorities have said that those who find it too difficult to live in Kherson can move to other parts of the country, as they now have freedom of movement.

Although crowds celebrated Kherson's liberation on Saturday, officials warned of serious shortages in the city.

Meanwhile, damage has been inflicted on a critical dam crossing the Dnipro River at Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies obtained by CNN on Friday showed water flowing from three gates of the dam, where a large hydroelectric project is located.

On Sunday, Vladimir Leontie, a Russian-based official in Nova Kakhovka, told Russian state TV that the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant had received “enormous” damage following bombing by the Ukrainian military, with repairs that would take at least a year. .

Pro-Russian officials in the annexed Kherson region say the evacuation of civilians and the retreat of Russian troops from the western bank to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River is due to the threat of flooding that could occur if the Ukrainian army strikes the hydroelectric Kakhovka dam of the power plant.

Ukraine did not say it was the party that bombed the plant.

Speaking Saturday about the next steps for the Ukrainian military in Kherson, CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton said, “This will be a major urban operation. What you will see is a methodical operation to clear buildings of potential booby traps and mines.

“Another thing the Ukrainians will have to do is that they will have to advance their systems so that they can counter any possible Russian artillery that will be found on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

“You can see that the Ukrainians have moved to that bank of the river, now they are controlling that area, they will have to gather some remaining Russian forces that have not managed to get out of the western bank of the Dnipro River. But those who are there will probably surrender or essentially be eliminated from the fight ”.

Russian troops are focusing their efforts in the Kherson region on equipping their defensive lines on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, an operational update from the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) General Staff said Sunday night.

Russia announced on Friday that it had withdrawn from the western bank of the Dnipro River into the strategic southern region of Kherson, leaving the regional capital of the same name and surrounding areas to the Ukrainians.

The retreat represents a severe blow to Putin’s war effort in Ukraine. Kherson was the only Ukrainian regional capital that Russian forces had captured since the February invasion.

Their withdrawal east across the Dnipro yields large tracts of land that Russia has occupied since the early days of the war and that Putin had formally declared Russian territory just five weeks ago.

The Ukrainian military said on Sunday that the Russians are still conducting assaults in the areas of Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlikvka, all in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Other areas such as Kupyansk and Lyman are also being hit by artillery, the AFU added.

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