Two days after the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kherson, Ukrainian authorities warned that some enemy soldiers could still be locked up in the now liberated southern city, even as citizens continued to celebrate the end of the months-long occupation in the streets.
But amid the joyous celebrations, an official said conditions in the city were “a humanitarian catastrophe”, with citizens left without necessities such as water, medicine and food.
Ukraine’s military took “stabilization measures” near the town on Saturday, assessing the damage in the Black Sea port as residents tore down pro-Kremlin billboards and other symbols placed there from the fall of the city on March 2.
Ukrainian officials were suspicious, however, still concerned that some Russian soldiers were hiding in Kherson, and they warned that the liberated city is likely still hiding atrocities.
“Every time we liberate a piece of our territory, when we enter a city liberated from the Russian army, we find torture rooms and mass graves with civilians tortured and murdered by the Russian army during the war. occupation of these territories,” said the Ukrainian. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in Cambodia, where he was attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Following Russia’s withdrawal, Ukrainian national television and radio broadcasts resumed in the city, while supplies and humanitarian aid began to arrive from the neighboring Mykolaiv region, according to Roman Holovnya, adviser to the mayor of Kherson.
Holovnya called the situation in Kherson a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
“The occupiers and collaborators did everything to ensure that the people who remained in the city suffered as much as possible during these days, weeks, months of waiting” for the arrival of Ukrainian forces, Holovnya said. “The water supply is practically non-existent.”
Meanwhile, Russian authorities on Saturday banned ships loaded outside Russia and Russian-occupied territories from crossing the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
The Kremlin’s latest decision to block the Kerch Strait to incoming foreign ships further clouds the future of grain exports from Ukraine, one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products, including sunflower cake, oil and seeds, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Russia remains undecided on an extension of a deal due to expire next week that allows Ukrainian grain exports, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin told reporters on Friday after talks with the United Nations United in Geneva on Friday.
The ban comes a month after the Kerch Strait Bridge, which connects Russia to Crimea, was bombed in an attack that led to the arrest of five Russians and three Ukrainian and Armenian citizens.
With pole wires