Kherson humanitarian situation ‘severe’ amid water and medicine shortages – mayor

Russian forces destroyed key infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson before retreating, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said.

Before fleeing from Kherson, the occupiers destroyed all the critical infrastructure: communications, water, heat, electricity.

Kherson’s mayor said the humanitarian situation was “severe” because of a lack of water, medicine and bread, as residents celebrated their liberation in what Zelenskiy called a “historic day”.

Reuters also reported that the mayor, Roman Holovnia, told television:

The city has a critical shortage, mainly of water. There is currently not enough medicine, not enough bread because it can’t be baked: there is no electricity.

Zelenskiy said authorities had, in their efforts to stabilise the region, dealt with nearly 2,000 mines, trip-wires and unexploded shells left by the departing Russians.

Ukrainian forces enter Kherson city on Saturday after the Russian retreat
Ukrainian forces enter Kherson city on Saturday after the Russian retreat. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Key events

Ukraine’s central bank said on Sunday it was preparing the country’s banking system to work in emergency conditions in connection with possible blackouts.

Reuters quoted the bank as saying on the Telegram messaging app:

It is envisaged to ensure the viability of 14 systemically important banks of the country. If absolutely necessary, the National Bank will primarily ensure the vital activities of state-owned banks.

Russia has systematically attacked the Ukrainian energy sector, causing blackouts for significant parts of the country.

On the road to Kherson, villagers holding flowers waited to greet and kiss Ukrainian soldiers as they poured in to secure control of the right bank of the Dnipro River on Saturday after the Russian retreat.

“We’ve become 20 years younger in the last two days,” said Valentyna Buhailova, 61, just before a Ukrainian soldier jumped out of a small truck and hugged her and her companion Nataliya Porkhunuk, 66, in a hamlet near the centre of Kherson.

But Reuters also reported that volleys of artillery fire surrounded the international airport, and police said they were setting up checkpoints in and around the city and sweeping for mines left behind.

Ukrainians welcome Kyiv’s troops as its military enters Kherson
Ukrainians welcome Kyiv’s troops as its military enters Kherson. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Kherson humanitarian situation ‘severe’ amid water and medicine shortages – mayor

Russian forces destroyed key infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson before retreating, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said.

Before fleeing from Kherson, the occupiers destroyed all the critical infrastructure: communications, water, heat, electricity.

Kherson’s mayor said the humanitarian situation was “severe” because of a lack of water, medicine and bread, as residents celebrated their liberation in what Zelenskiy called a “historic day”.

Reuters also reported that the mayor, Roman Holovnia, told television:

The city has a critical shortage, mainly of water. There is currently not enough medicine, not enough bread because it can’t be baked: there is no electricity.

Zelenskiy said authorities had, in their efforts to stabilise the region, dealt with nearly 2,000 mines, trip-wires and unexploded shells left by the departing Russians.

Ukrainian forces enter Kherson city on Saturday after the Russian retreat
Ukrainian forces enter Kherson city on Saturday after the Russian retreat. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Summary

Welcome back to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Adam Fulton and here’s a quick run through the latest developments as it approaches 9am in Kyiv.

  • 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. Ukraine’s president said 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.

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