Kherson is the first and only regional capital of Ukraine conquered by Russia. And also the first provincial capital that Ukrainian troops were able to recapture almost nine months later. That was two weeks ago, but the horror of the war has remained.
Shells rained down on Cherson. On Friday alone, at least 15 people died in Russian attacks, dozens were injured, buildings destroyed and hospitals evacuated. Since the occupiers withdrew from the southern Ukrainian city, the civilian population no longer lives under the Russian thumb, but the terror simply continues.
Electricity and water are only available sporadically, if at all. Pipes and infrastructure were largely destroyed by Putin’s soldiers when they left. The streets are deserted and most shops are closed.
Ever since the Russians left Kherson, they have been shelling the city from across the Dnipro River. About 70 percent of the province of Cherson are still under their rule.
At least the people who stayed can speak Ukrainian to each other in public again, even though the majority of people in Cherson traditionally speak Russian. Due to the difficult situation, the Ukrainian government has started to evacuate mothers and their children in particular.
The Ministry of Infrastructure announced that 100 people had been taken by train to Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine. These included 26 children and six sick people. They would be housed in the area considered safe.
As the “FAZ” reports, it is pitch black in Cherson as soon as the sun goes down. People use candles or lamps that they hang on removed car batteries. Temperatures are below freezing at night. Heaters don’t work. There is a curfew from 7 p.m.
During the day, on the other hand, according to the “FAZ” report, there is a dense crowd in heated tents on Freedom Square. The muffled thumping of the artillery can be heard all the time. Residents tell reporters about atrocities committed by the former occupiers.
According to their own statements, the Ukrainian authorities have discovered torture chambers and killed civilians in Kherson. “The bodies of 432 civilians who were murdered were found,” said Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. The 49-year-old did not provide any further information. In addition, nine rooms designated as torture chambers were discovered. A total of twelve investigative teams are active in the heavily mined area.
Meanwhile, the authorities in the capital Kyiv are reporting good news: According to the military administration, the supply of electricity, water, heat and the mobile network in the three-million metropolis has been almost completely restored.
The capital was without power for four days due to Russian attacks on energy infrastructure. President Volodymyr Zelenskyj had criticized Kiev’s mayor Vitali Klitschko in an unusually open way. The former world boxing champion then warned of political disputes. The “Bild am Sonntag” said Klitschko: “The key to Ukraine’s success after Russia’s attack on our country is cohesion, both nationally and internationally.”
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