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Ukraine war latest LIVE: Zelensky hails ‘historic day’ as Kyiv’s military moves into Kherson as Vladimir Putin’s forces retreat


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olodymyr Zelensky hailed a ‘historic day’ as Ukraine’s military entered Kherson on Friday after the retreat of Russian forces.

“Today is a historic day. We are returning Kherson”, Ukraine’s president wrote on Telegram.

Ukraine’s military said earlier an “operation to liberate Kherson” was under way as Russia announced it had completed a troop withdrawal in what appears to be a major setback for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Moscow relinquished its final foothold in the major city in southern Ukraine – allowing Kyiv’s forces to move towards reclaiming the country’s only Russian-occupied provincial capital.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said its troops finished withdrawing from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s Kherson region at 5am local time on Friday.

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Videos and photos circulating on social media showed local residents cheerfully taking to the streets and a Ukrainian flag flying over a monument in a central Kherson square for the first time since early March, when the city was seized by the Russians. Some footage showed crowds cheering on men in military uniform.

Ukrainian intelligence urged Russian soldiers who might still be in the city to surrender in the anticipation of Kyiv’s forces arriving.

The final Russian withdrawal came six weeks after President Putin illegally annexed the Kherson region and three other Ukrainian provinces, vowing they would remain Russian forever.

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Zelensky hails ‘historic day’ as his military enters Kherson

Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed a ‘historic day’ as Ukraine’s military entered Kherson after the retreat of Russian forces.

“Today is a historic day. We are returning Kherson”, Ukraine’s president wrote on Telegram.

Ukrainian special units are already inside the city and more troops are on their way, he said.

“Ukraine always returns its own,” he said, praising the civilians who “never gave up” on their country.

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More footage shows Kherson residents greeting Ukrainian soldiers freeing them from Russian occupation

Soldiers laugh as tearful villagers greet them in more stunning scenes outside of Kherson.

Crowds cheer and line the roads as hatchbacks carrying soldiers pass through the liberated city.

Russia relinquished its final foothold in a major city in southern Ukraine on Friday, allowing Ukrainian forces to move cautiously toward reclaiming the country’s only Russian-occupied provincial capital in what would be a major morale-boosting victory.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops finished withdrawing from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s Kherson region at 5 a.m.

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Signs of Russian occupation being removed

Ukranians rip down a Russian billboard as Ukraine’s forces advance in the Kherson region. This image was taken on Friday in Bilozerka. The massive roadside poster reads, “Russia here forever.”

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Talks begin in Geneva over grain deal

Talks between a Russian delegation and senior UN officials to address Moscow’s grievances about the Black Sea grains export initiative are underway in Geneva, a UN spokesperson has said.

The negotiations come just eight days before the deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July is due to be renewed. The accord has helped stave off a global food crisis by allowing the export of food and fertilisers from several of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Moscow has indicated that it is prepared to quit the deal, which could expire on November 19, if progress is not made on its concerns. Russia suspended its participation in late October but rejoined after four days.

It said it was responding to a drone attack on Moscow’s fleet in Crimea that it blamed on Ukraine. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility and denies using the grain programme’s security corridor for military purposes.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, who heads talks on Ukrainian exports, and senior UN trade official Rebeca Grynspan, are meeting with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin at the UN office in Geneva, said Alessandra Vellucci, spokesperson for the United Nations in Geneva.

“This discussion, it is hoped, should advance progress made in facilitating the unimpeded export of food and fertilisers originating from the Russian Federation to the global markets,” she told a news briefing.

Vellucci made no mention of whether an extension of the pact was on the agenda.

The UN officials involved in the talks did not speak to journalists on the sidelines of the discussions. A Russian official said the talks continued into the evening.

In what could be a promising sign, the Dutch government on Friday said it would release a consignment of 20,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizer that had been stuck in Rotterdam port due to sanctions, following a request from the United Nations.

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Ukraine’s forces reach the western bank of Dnipro river

Advanced units of Ukraine’s armed forces have reached the western bank of the Dnipro river in some parts of Kherson region,Ukraine’s military has said.

A statement was issued on Facebook hours after Ukrainian troops entered the city of Kherson in the wake of a major Russian retreat.

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Local reports suggest that 45 Ukrainian soldiers released from Russian captivity

The Kyiv post is reporting that 45 Ukrainian POWs have been released rom Russian captivity.

Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak commented on the exchange on his Facebook page:

“We continue to return our prisoners. Another exchange has taken place – 45 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were released. Among them are soldiers and sergeants who defended our state in battle. We also managed to return two bodies of fallen defenders. We will return all Ukrainians home… we are in constant contact with their families,” Yermak wrote.

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Zelensky backs fundraiser for fleet of drones to counter Russian missiles

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday backed a fundraising campaign to help Ukraine build a fleet of naval drones to protect its cities against Russian missile strikes from the Black Sea.

United24, an initiative launched by Zelenskiy to raise charitable donations for Ukraine following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, said Ukraine needed 100 drones, each of which costs 10 million hryvnias ($274,000).

Volodymyr Zelensky (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian/PA)

/ PA Media

Since launching its full-scale invasion, Russia has carried out missile strikes from ships in the Black Sea and from Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014 and is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

“We must defend the waters of our seas and peaceful cities from Russian missiles launched from ships,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Naval drones will also help unblock the corridor for civilian ships transporting grain for the world.”

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EU and Ukraine flags hoisted in liberated Kherson

Ambassador of the European Union to Ukraine, Matti Maasikas posted a picture of the centre of Kherson with the EU and Ukrainian flags flying high again.

Videos and photos circulating on social media showed local residents cheerfully taking to the streets and a Ukrainian flag flying over a monument in a central Kherson square for the first time since early March, when the city was seized by the Russians.

The president’s office said Russian drones, rockets and heavy artillery strikes across eight regions killed at least 14 civilians between Thursday morning and Friday morning.

Gen. Ben Hodges, former commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe, described the retreat from Kherson as a “colossal failure” for Russia and said Russian military commanders should have pulled all their forces out of the city “weeks ago,” to put the Dnieper River between them and Ukraine’s advancing troops.

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Zelensky’s former spokeswoman spots her aunt hugging soldiers arriving in Kherson

Iulliaa Mendel, a former spokeswoman to President Zelensky, spotted her aunt handing out flowers to liberating Ukrainian soldiers arriving in Kherson.

She said her aunt had become an internet star and joked that the liberation had been slowed as soldiers are constantly stopped for hugging.

Her aunt told her: “We survived. Be that as it may, there will be no more Russians here. We are Ukraine!”

She also said that two children aged, 4 and, 9, were injured by Russian mines left by fleeing soldiers in the newly- liberated city.

It came as Ukrainian intelligence urged Russian soldiers who might still be in the city to surrender in the anticipation of Kyiv’s forces arriving.

“Your command left you to the mercy of fate. … Your commanders urge you to change into civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson on your own. Obviously. you won’t be able to,” the intelligence statement read.

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Videos show joyous Ukrainians throwing liberating soldiers into the air

Russia relinquished its final foothold in a major city in southern Ukraine on Friday, allowing Ukrainian forces to move cautiously toward reclaiming the country’s only Russian-occupied provincial capital in what would be a major morale-boosting victory.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops finished withdrawing from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s Kherson region at 5 a.m. The area they left included the city of Kherson, the only provincial capital Russia had captured during its nearly 9-month invasion of Ukraine.

Videos and photos circulating on social media showed local residents cheerfully taking to the streets and a Ukrainian flag flying over a monument in a central Kherson square for the first time since early March, when the city was seized by the Russians. Some footage showed crowds cheering on men in military uniform.

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