Zelenskyy: Battle for Kherson was D-Day-like watershed

Zelenskyy: Battle for Kherson was D-Day-like watershed

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday likened the recapture of the southern city of Kherson to the Allied landings in France on D-Day in World War II, saying both were watersheds on the road to eventual victory.

Speaking via video link to a Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, Zelenskyy said Kherson’s liberation from eight months of Russian occupation was “reminiscent of many battles in the past, which became turning points in the wars.”

“It’s similar to, for instance, D-Day – the landing of the Allies at Normandy. Although it was not the end of the fight against evil, it did set the course for the rest of the events. He said, “This is exactly what we feel now.”

The retaking Kherson was one the biggest victories of Ukraine in the almost nine-month-old Russian invasion. It dealt another devastating blow to the Kremlin. However, large parts of eastern and south Ukraine are still under Russian control and fighting continues. On Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities reported another civilian casualty from Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine. This adds to the heavy toll of the invasion that has left many thousands dead and wounded. The liberation of Kherson, the only provincial capital Moscow had seized, has sparked celebrations in Ukraine and allowed families to reunite for the first time since months. But as winter approaches, the city’s remaining 80,000 residents are without heat, water or electricity, and short on food and medicine. The U.S. President Joe Biden praised it as a “significant victory for Ukraine.” Biden spoke on the sidelines at the G -20 summit and said: “We’re still going to provide the capability for Ukraine people to defend themselves.”

In his address to G -20, Zelenskyy demanded the creation a special tribunal to prosecute Russian military and political leaders for the crime against Ukraine and an international mechanism to compensate Kyiv.

Zelenskyy referred to the G-20 meeting as “the G-19 summit,” adhering to Kyiv’s line that Russia should be excluded from the grouping.

“Everywhere, when we liberate our land, we see one thing — Russia leaves behind torture chambers and mass burials. How many mass graves can you find in the territory still under Russian control? Zelenskyy pointedly inquired.

Ukrainian authorities say there are signs of atrocities emerging in Kherson, just as in other liberated areas.

Zelenskyy made a triumphant surprise visit on Monday to Kherson. He described the Russian withdrawal from the southern city as “beginning the end of war”, but also acknowledged that the Ukrainian soldiers are paying a heavy price for their incessant efforts to repel the invasion forces of Russia.


Joanna Kozlowska contributed to this report from London.


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