Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has implicated Russian forces in war crimes and the killing of people in Kherson, which Ukraine reclaimed last week.
“Investigators have already documented approximately 400 Russian war crimes.” “Bodies of dead civilians and servicemen have been found,” Zelenskyy stated in his nightly video message on Sunday, without naming the places.
“The Russian army left behind the same savagery it did in other regions of the country it entered,” he added.
It was not able to confirm Zelenskyy’s claims right away. Russia denies that its troops deliberately attack civilians.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, mass graves have been unearthed in various locations around Ukraine, along with the death of people with evidence of torture recovered in the northeastern Kharkiv region and in Bucha, near the capital Kyiv. Ukraine has alleged Russian forces of the atrocities.
According to a United Nations panel, war crimes were perpetrated in Ukraine, and Russian forces were accountable for the “vast majority” of human rights breaches in the early weeks of the conflict.
Ukrainians in Kherson voiced tremendous satisfaction after the Russian military withdrew on Friday after months of captivity.
The territory was one of four declared by Russian President Vladimir Putin to have been seized in September, a move condemned by Kyiv and condemned by Western countries.
Before fleeing, some villagers blamed the Russians for laying mines, looting, and even snatching animals from a zoo.
“God will punish them. All of them. For everything they did,” remarked 47-year-old Svitlana Vilna.
After Russia evacuated the provincial capital of Kherson, which surrendered quickly after the February 24 incursion, Ukrainian soldiers arrived.
The pullback was the third major Russian pullback of the conflict, and it came after a large Ukrainian military campaign that reclaimed areas of the east and south.
According to regional officials, most residences in the Ukrainian capital remain without electricity and water, and artillery engagements continue to reverberate across the city.
“We are happy now, but we are all afraid of the bombing from the left bank,” said Yana Smyrnova, a 35-year-old singer on the city’s city center, alluding to Russian artillery on the Dnieper River’s east bank.
Many residents waited in line, some draped in Ukrainian flags, to acquire food and contact with families via Starlink satellite internet.
“I need to get in touch with my family,” Klavdia Mych, a former teacher, briefed the media.
“We have been without water for a week,” the 69-year-old remarked. “And they say everything is mined. It is very scary.”
As a security measure, the governor of the Kherson area, Yaroslav Yanushevych, announced that the authorities had chosen to maintain a curfew from 5 p.m. (15:00 GMT) to 8 a.m. (06:00 GMT) and prohibit individuals from departing or visiting the city.
“The enemy mined all critical infrastructure,” Yanushevych stated on Ukrainian TV. “We are trying to meet within a few days and [then] open the city,” he asserted.
In addition, Zelenskyy cautioned Kherson locals about the existence of Russian mines. “I am asking you please not to forget that the situation in the Kherson region remains very dangerous,” he stated.
Authorities made early success at reinstating normalcy in the city, which had a pre-war population of approximately 290,000 people.
On Telegram, presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko stated that a mobile connection was already operational in the city center, while the head of Ukraine’s national railroads stated that commuter trains to Kherson would return this week.
Residents claimed the Russians had departed slowly over the preceding two weeks, but their final withdrawal became obvious only when the first Ukrainian troops arrived in the town of Kherson on Thursday.
“It was a gradual thing,” claimed Alexii Sandakov, 44, a videographer. “First their special police went. Then the ordinary police and their administration. Then you started seeing fewer soldiers in the supermarkets and then their military vehicles driving away.”
Many residents interviewed by Reporters claimed they had sought to limit their interaction with Russians and knew of persons who had been detained and mistreated for displaying any form of Ukrainian patriotism.
Sandakov claimed that Russian troops had ransacked the residences of Ukrainian soldiers who had fled the city prior to the capture and that they would search the bodies of young men walking through inspections for tattoos of Ukrainian nationalist parties.
Since the start of the week, Ukraine’s defence ministry said it has reclaimed 179 villages and 4,500 square kilometers (1,700 square miles) along the Dnieper River.