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  • We start with the rapidly developing situation in Southern Ukraine where Ukrainian flags are now flying in the city of Kherson after Russian troops withdrew from the area.

  • A member of the local ruling council said Ukraine had pushed out or killed members of the occupying force.

  • Russia's defense ministry said all of its troops were successfully withdrawn.

  • Video from inside Kherson shows Ukrainian flags being raised above government monuments and buildings.

  • And in these pictures, crowds chant and hug Ukrainian soldiers as they enter Freedom Square in Kherson,

  • Russia says it's moved to new defensive positions on the other side of the Dnipro River but that pullback may have been costly.

  • The main bridge out of Kherson has been partially destroyed but accounts differ as to who was responsible.

  • Russian troops say they destroyed it after withdrawing.

  • But witnesses suggest some Russian soldiers remain on the west bank of the river and are coming under attack from Ukrainian forces as they attempt to cross.

  • Our correspondent Catherine Biarahanga is in Kiev with Yuriy Sak,an adviser to Ukraine's ministry of defense.

  • The news from southern Ukraine is definitely moving very fast today.

  • Just a couple of hours ago, we heard from the Russian defense ministry saying it had completed its withdrawal from Kherson city,

  • and now we get the news from the Ukrainian military confirming that its soldiers and now in Kherson city itself.

  • Well, to find out the latest, I'm joined by Yuriy Sak, he's an adviser to Ukraine's minister for defense.

  • Mr Sak, what do we know about what's happening in Kherson right now?

  • The latest information that we have from the defense intelligence of Ukraine is that the Ukrainian armed forces are gradually entering Kherson city.

  • We understand that not all Russian troops have left yet, even though they've made this announcement, but we don't trust Russians anyway, because they lie all the time.

  • We understand that some of the troops have been left behind.

  • So they're now taking off their military uniforms, throwing it in the garbage and trying to mingling with the local populations, fearful for their life.

  • So our call to them is of course is surrender and save your life.

  • Don't be foolish.

  • Now I want to say that Kherson is the city, if you remember that when it was occupied by the aggressor in early March,

  • the people of Kherson, those who are now jubilantly welcoming the Ukrainian armed forces, they were standing there, facing tanks with Ukrainian flags.

  • These are heroes.

  • They had no weapons.

  • All they had was their will, their patriotism.

  • And now it's a very emotional moment for them because they've braved through this difficult period of temporary occupation.

  • And now thanks to the successful military operations of the Ukrainian army, which for weeks now have been conducting a successful counter offensive in the south of Ukraine in the Kherson region, we have liberated over 41 villages.

  • This amounts to about 1,400 square kilometers.

  • So you could say that we are now in control of the right side of the river Dnipro, including Kherson.

  • But of course, our feelings are cautious, because we know that we're dealing with an enemy who is capable of provocations.

  • We are dealing with a terrorist state who has done a lot of atrocities and committed all sorts of war crimes on our territory.

  • And you mentioned that emotions are high in Kherson right now.

  • We hear as you say that they're still Russian soldiers in the city.

  • How will you treat them?

  • Because we're hearing from witnesses that they're also coming an attack from Ukrainian forces.

  • So how will you treat the Russian soldiers who are left in Kherson?

  • I think we have proven it time and again to the world that we are not russkies.

  • We are a civilized nation which abides by international law which follows the prescriptions of geneva conventions.

  • We have been treating Russian prisoners of war, you know, according to all best international standards of humanitarian laws.

  • So our call is, you know, if they surrender, if they don't do any provocations, they will be able to save their lives and we guarantee them proper treatment in accordance with the best standards.

  • For days now, we've heard from the Ukrainian military that they're concerned that Russia's plan to withdraw could be a trap.

  • Are you still concerned about a possible trap from the Russians?

  • All our military operations, they are all based on very careful planning, reconnaissance, intelligence and of course assessment of risks.

  • So we cannot ignore these reports that Russians could be planning a trap.

  • But knowing about these reports, of course we unable to...we are able to anticipate them.

  • And of course we were prepared for any possible trap and we will proceed carefully.

  • From here, Russian forces will retreat to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

  • That will have a great defensive advantage which will be this mighty Dnipro river basically blocking your forces from crossing, where no bridges have been destroyed with no boats that would help your forces to cross have also been destroyed.

  • How are you going to handle this?

  • I was going to start answering a question by saying we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

  • But apparently that bridge is gone now.

  • So we'll have to build a new one, I suppose.

  • And of course, you know, we have done a lot of smart military maneuvers in the past.

  • We have liberated Kiev, we have liberated Chernyshev, Kharkiv, now we are almost fully in control of Kherson city.

  • So I'm sure that our military come up with another genuine plan which will allow us to continue our counter offensive because of course it's too early to be complacent.

  • This war is far from over.

  • Russians are continuing terrorizing peaceful citizens, missiles strike on today just killed six peaceful citizens when they were in their beds sleeping.

  • So this is not over.

  • And we will continue carefully assessing all the risks.

  • This is definitely a victory for Ukraine right now.

  • But we're going into the winter months, it's going to get harder to fight.

  • The temperatures here will drop to minus 30 degrees.

  • The ground will be covered in snow, how do you handle the next few months?

  • Especially now that Russia will be in a safer position, let's say, how will you handle the winter?

  • You can't take any more territory, can you?

  • Well, it all depends, you know, on a lot of factors.

  • We'll have to see what kind of winter we're going to have.

  • Right now we're in the middle of November, and this is not a kind of typical November weather, right?

  • It's much warmer.

  • So it could depend a lot on, you know, what the weather conditions will be.

  • But of course winter will be a factor.

  • It will slow down, you know, both the Ukrainian side as well as the Russian's.

  • But I want to stress that this is not a war that began on February 24 of this year.

  • This is a war in which our armed forces have been engaged from 2014 when the annexation of Crimea happened, and the Russian invasion of Donbas area.

  • So our armed forces have the experience of conducting military operations in different weather conditions, including winter.

  • So we'll continue carefully and we'll suceed.

We start with the rapidly developing situation in Southern Ukraine where Ukrainian flags are now flying in the city of Kherson after Russian troops withdrew from the area.

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Celebrations in Kherson as Ukraine recaptures key city from Russia – BBC News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/11/22
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