After an eight-month Russian occupation came to an end, the Ukrainian military took “stabilization measures” on Saturday close to the southern city of Kherson. This retreat further undermined President Vladimir Putin’s plans to annex large portions of Ukraine.
After the Kremlin revealed its troops had left Kherson, the only regional capital taken by Russia’s military during the continuing invasion, and moved to the other side of the Dnieper River, people in Ukraine awoke from a night of joyous celebration. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that the stabilization efforts were concentrated north of Kherson city, where the Ukrainian military claimed to have recaptured dozens of towns and villages during the past two months. Six weeks after Putin annexed the Kherson area and three other provinces in southern and eastern Ukraine in violation of international law and in the face of strong criticism, the Russian retreat signified a huge setback for the Kremlin. The Russian leader categorically declared that the erroneously claimed lands were part of Russia. The euphoria over the invaded country’s most recent morale boost was tempered, as Zelenskyy had done, by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. He spoke from Cambodia, where he was attending an ASEAN meeting, saying, “We are winning battles on the ground, but the struggle continues.”