December 2, 2022

Russo-Ukrainian War: Zelensky visits Kherson after the Russian retreat turns the river into a new front line

Russo-Ukrainian War: Zelensky visits Kherson after the Russian retreat turns the river into a new front line

attributed to him…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian and Russian forces exchanged fire on Monday across the wide stretch of the Dnipro River that now divides it after… Russia withdraws from the southern city of KhersonReshaping the battlefield with the victory declared by Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, “the beginning of the end of the war”.

Dnipro has become the new front line in southern Ukraine, and officials there warn of continued danger from fighting in areas that have already endured months of Russian occupation.

During the afternoon, artillery fire broke out in the southern area of ​​the city near the destroyed Antonevsky Bridge over the Dnipro River, raising fears that the Russian army would avenge the loss of the city with bombardments from its new positions on the eastern bank.

Mortar shells landed near the bridge, sending smoke billowing. Near the river bank, the incoming shots rang out with thunderous, metallic minutes. It was not immediately possible to assess what was injured.

The head of Kherson’s regional military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevich, urged tens of thousands of residents remaining in the city to evacuate while Ukrainian forces worked to remove landmines, hunt down Russian soldiers left behind and restore basic services.

Mines are very dangerous. Janushevich said four people, including an 11-year-old child, were killed when a family driving in the village of Novoraisk, outside the city, ran over a mine. Another mine injured six railway workers who were trying to restore service after rail tracks were damaged. There were at least four other children injured by mines throughout the area. Ukrainian officials said in statements.

The deaths highlighted the threats that linger on the ground, even as Mr. Zelensky paid a surprise visit to Kherson, a tangible sign of high morale in Ukraine.

“We are, step by step, coming to our entire country,” Mr. Zelensky said in a brief appearance. in the city’s main square on Monday, where hundreds of jubilant residents celebrated.

Russian forces continued to fire across the river at towns and villages recaptured by Ukrainian forces, according to the Ukrainian Army’s Southern Command. The military said that two Russian missiles hit the town of Preslav, located north of a vital dam. It was not immediately known if there were any injuries.

Irina Vereshuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, said that the Ukrainian government is evaluating evacuation routes to the cities of Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih. “We will not have time to restore the energy supply sufficient to heat the homes where children, the sick and people with reduced mobility live,” she said. It will not be a mass evacuation. It will cover the sick, the elderly and those left without the care of their relatives.

On Monday, a senior US military official said that Russian forces continued to target civilian infrastructure, though the pace of missile and drone strikes appeared to have slowed since the end of October.

On the eastern bank of the Dnipro, residents described an increasingly oppressive environment as Russian soldiers poured into the area.

“Passengers rob locals and exchange things for samogon,” or homemade vodka, said one resident, Tatiana, who communicated via a secure messaging app from Oleshky, a town across the river from Kherson. “Then they get drunk and get more aggressive. We are very scared here.” She requested that her last name be withheld for security reasons.

Other residents on the east bank gave similar accounts of chaos and anarchy.

“Russians are walking around, locating empty houses and settling there,” Ivan, 45, wrote in a text message. He lives in Skadovsk, south of Kherson, and asked that his surname not be used, fearing for his safety. “We’re trying to communicate with the owners and arrange for a local to stay put. So it won’t be given away and it won’t be taken by the Russians.”

Over the weekend, the Ukrainian military sought to target Russian forces as they attempted to regroup after their withdrawal from Kherson. The Ukrainian Air Force launched strikes on the eastern side of the river, where the Ukrainian military said it had fired on 33 Russian positions.

Andrew E. Kramer And the Anna Lukinova Contribute to the preparation of reports.