As Kherson assesses damage, Russia bans ship traffic in key waterway

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As Kherson assesses damage, Russia bans ship traffic in key waterway

Two days after Russian forces pulled out of Kherson, Ukrainian authorities warned some enemy soldiers could still be holed up in the now liberated southern city, even as citizens continued to celebrate the end of the months-long occupation in the streets.

But amid the joyous celebrations, one official said conditions in the city are “a humanitarian catastrophe,” with citizens left without necessities like water, medicine, and food.

The Ukrainian military carried out “stabilization measures” near the city on Saturday, assessing the damage across the Black Sea port as residents tore down pro-Kremlin billboards and other symbols placed there since the city fell on March 2.

Ukrainian officials were wary, however, still concerned that some Russian soldiers were hiding in Kherson, and they warned that the liberated city likely still hides atrocities.

People celebrating in Kherson, Ukraine.
One Ukrainian official said that citizens are left without necessities like water, medicine and food in Kherson.

People celebrating in Kherson, Ukraine.
Ukrainian residents flood the streets in celebration in Kherson.

“Every time we liberate a piece of our territory, when we enter a city liberated from the Russian army, we find torture rooms and mass graves with civilians tortured and murdered by the Russian army in the course of the occupation of these territories,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in Cambodia, where he was attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Following the Russia withdrawal, Ukrainian national TV and radio broadcasts resumed in the city, while supplies and humanitarian aid began arriving from the neighboring Mykolaiv region, according to Roman Holovnya, an adviser to Kherson’s mayor.

Holovnya called the situation in Kherson “a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Ukrainian military assessed the damage across the Black Sea port as residents tore down pro-Kremlin billboards and other symbols placed there.
The Ukrainian military assessed the damage across the Black Sea port as residents tore down pro-Kremlin billboards and other symbols placed there since the city fell.
AP

“The occupiers and collaborators did everything possible so that those people who remained in the city suffered as much as possible over those days, weeks, months of waiting” for Ukraine’s forces to arrive, Holovnya said. “Water supplies are practically nonexistent.”

Meanwhile, Russian authorities banned vessels loaded outside of Russia and Russian-occupied territories from crossing the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea into the Azov Sea on Saturday.

The Kremlin’s latest move to block the Kerch Strait from incoming foreign vessels further clouds the future of grain exports from Ukraine, one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products including sunflower meal, oil and seed, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

People celebrating in Kherson, Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials were still concerned that some Russian soldiers were hiding in Kherson.

People celebrating in Kherson, Ukraine.
Following the Russian withdrawal, Ukrainian national TV and radio broadcasts resumed in the city.

People celebrating in Kherson, Ukraine.
Supplies and humanitarian aid began to arrive from the neighboring Mykolaiv region, according to an adviser to Kherson’s mayor.

Russia remains undecided on an extension of a deal set to expire next week that allows Ukrainian grain exports, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin told reporters following talks with the United Nations in Geneva on Friday.

The ban comes a month after the bombing of the Kerch Strait bridge, which links Russia to Crimea, in an attack that led to the arrest of five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia.

With Post Wires

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