Kherson Diary: No power, no water but the joy just flows

During the long, long months while Russian forces have been in price, the national flag became contraband. Only rarely and within the privacy of his personal home did Yevhen Teliezhenko dare bring out his prized ownership, the banned yellow-and-blue of Ukraine.

Now the Russians are long past, pressured out of his southern town of Kherson, and the seventy three-year-old is making up for all that lost time. He and his spouse are using across the town, flying their flag and — with the passion of teens — asking Ukrainian infantrymen who liberated them to autograph it.

“They had been preventing for us. We knew we have been now not alone,” he stated.

Where simply final week there has been deep fear in Kherson, now there’s an abundance of joy.

And that emotion is bursting out despite the fact there is no strength, no water and slightly any cellular telephone insurance. Food and drugs are in short deliver. Life guarantees to be hard for weeks to come back, as winter bites down on barely heated residences. Russia’s poisoned parting items have been the destruction of key infrastructure and the lethal seeding of booby traps across the metropolis.Kherson was the handiest provincial capital captured by using Russia, seized in the invasion’s first weeks. It was a vast — but because it became out best temporary — prize for Moscow, due to the city’s port and its strategic function on the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine.

The Dnieper’s wide waters now separate Ukraine’s troops, who fought their manner for weeks closer to Kherson, and its former Russian occupiers, who deserted the metropolis ultimate week in the face of the Ukrainian enhance, escaping to the river’s eastern bank.

Yet the preventing is a long way from over.

Russian troops are now digging in there, bracing for the next Ukrainian pass. Over the sounds of Ukrainians rejoicing for a 3rd day strolling Sunday in Kherson’s major rectangular, the thump of artillery fireplace may be heard within the distance. About 70% of the wider Kherson area continues to be in Russian fingers.

Roads leading into Kherson undergo witness to the ferocity of the combating — a good deal of it largely unreported at the time due to the fact Ukraine had blacked out frontline news from the location to keep away from giving beneficial intelligence to the Russians. For tens of kilometers (miles) on method to the metropolis, the struggle and its ravages have left now not a building untouched.Amid the abandoned trenches and the charred stays of navy hardware, a stunning sight: kids popped out of mutilated houses to wave at automobiles rolling thru their village, which till handiest recently became a warfare area.

Freed of their occupiers, residents of Kherson at the moment are capable of start telling the awful memories of lifestyles beneath Moscow’s rule. Some stated Russian infantrymen detaining people inside the streets, reputedly arbitrarily, for assessments and thinking — and occasionally worse.

Others worry about friends and friends who had been advised to depart Kherson whilst Russian forces were beginning their weeks-long withdrawal. Tens of hundreds of human beings have been evacuated, ferried across the Dnieper and bused deeper into territory that Russia still holds.

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