Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Kyiv’s forces have established control in more than 60 settlements in the Kherson region and “stabilisation measures” are being carried out in Kherson city after it was retaken by Ukrainian forces. Zelenskiy said that Russian forces had destroyed all of Kherson’s critical infrastructure before they fled, including communications and water supplies along with heat and electricity supplies.
Ukrainians hailed Russia’s retreat from Kherson as Kyiv said it was working to de-mine the strategic southern city after the eight-month occupation and restore power across the region. In the formerly occupied village of Pravdyne, outside Kherson, returning locals embraced their neighbours, some unable to hold back tears, Agence France-Presse reported. “Victory, finally!” one said.
The head of Kherson’s regional state administration said everything was being done to “return normal life” to the area. Yaroslav Yanushevych said from Kherson city in a video posted to social media that while de-mining was carried out, a curfew had been put in place and movement in and out of the city had been limited.
Pro-Moscow forces are putting up a much stiffer fight elsewhere and the battles with Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donetsk region are hellish, Zelenskiy said. “There it is just hell – there are extremely fierce battles there every day. But our units are defending bravely – they are withstanding the terrible pressure of the invaders, preserving our defence lines,” he said.
Ukraine would decide on the timing and contents of any negotiation framework with Russia, according to a readout of a meeting between the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, at the Asean summit in Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has spoken to his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, by phone and both leaders placed emphasis on deepening political, trade and economic cooperation, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday. The discussion of “a number of topical issues on the bilateral agenda” also including the transport and logistics sector, the Kremlin said. It did not say when the phone call took place and made no mention of Iranian arms supplies to Moscow.
Significant new damage to the major Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine can be seen following Russia’s withdrawal from nearby Kherson, Reuters reported the US satellite imagery company Maxar as saying.
Russia said there was no agreement yet to extend a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, repeating its insistence on unhindered access to world markets for its own food and fertiliser exports, Reuters reported.