November 26, 2022

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War in Ukraine: Champagne, tears and emotion in Kiev after the liberation of Kherson

“Finally my free city, where I was born and lived all my life,” says 17-year-old Nastia Stepanska with tears in her cheeks, Ukrainian colors painted on her cheeks with her friends from Kherson. crowd

“When they (the Russians) came, it was terrible, we didn’t know what would happen the next day, we’d be alive,” testified the high school student, who says she’s “in good shape. Chuck.” .

“I will come back when it is safe and possible, and soon,” the young man said, referring to the ongoing fighting in the city.

The Ukrainian army announced on Friday that it had entered Kherson (in the south) after Russian forces withdrew, nine months after capturing its regional capital in the country’s south.

Immediately, an air very rare in the Ukrainian capital of celebrations, complicit smiles, street music and horns took over the city center of Kiev.

“There are no words to express how happy we are, my father, my mother and my grandmother are still in Kherson,” said Volodymyr Pahnenko.

“And my fox cub doll,” says her daughter Stefania.

“We Are Free”

Wrapped in flags, popping champagne corks and hugging each other while singing the Ukrainian national anthem, Kherson residents who left at the start of the Russian occupation met spontaneously at 7:00pm (17:00 GMT) on the iconic National Square. of the stadium to celebrate the occasion.

“I didn’t believe it at first, I thought it would take weeks, months, a few hundred meters at a time, now we see them coming to Kherson in one day, it’s the best surprise”, said Artem Lukiv, 41, a resident of Kherson, who took refuge in kyiv.

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“I told my children, it’s good, we are free, we all cried”, the father of the family hugs his two children and the Ukrainian flag.

The National Anthem is sung under the lights of the Column with the Angel of Maiden Square. The participants, with tears in their eyes, shouted before the legions entered the regional capital of southern Ukraine, the first major liberation since the start of the war.

“We are very happy, all the residents of Kherson are here, our soldiers are gods (…) We have been waiting for this moment for nine months. Kherson belongs to Ukraine, forever”, adds the father of the family.