The Battle of Kherson

‘We survived’: Kherson comes alive after Russian withdrawal

From July 1, the city has been at war with the Russian army.

On July 17, the day that the Russian annexation of Crimea was announced and the war that Russia has been waging on the East Ukrainian region began, the city of Kherson, Ukraine’s second largest, became a war zone.

To the untrained eye, it looked peaceful, but according to eyewitnesses, the streets were in a shambles, with tanks blocking every road and sniper fire at close range. The city’s police and the volunteer militia took up position on the streets, and the Russian army was everywhere. The atmosphere was tense, with fighting that was sporadic and at times close enough to the civilian population that the people would jump up to join the fray. A volunteer, Olena Petrakova, told TASS that in five days, she and her young daughter were not allowed to move freely to buy food or to visit relatives for fear of being captured by the Russians.

In only seven days, Kherson’s population of around 50,000 has been thrown into chaos by Russian aggression. On July 13, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared martial law – and declared that the city would be an example for Ukraine’s nation. On July 18, he announced that Ukrainian troops had liberated Kherson and that it was the first step in a new phase of Ukrainian-Russian war.

By July 21, 2014, the situation in Kherson seemed to have calmed down somewhat, but the Russians showed no signs of withdrawing. And it was certainly not possible to simply leave the city open as a military base.

A day earlier, Ukraine’s national police headquarters in the city of Lviv, where the Ukrainian army is based, had issued a similar statement: “We would advise the government to continue to control the area and not let the troops of Ukraine’s Security Service to intervene in the city.”

And yet the city has been fighting for more than 10 months now, with the Ukrainian army’s own commander, Yuriy Yakiyar, announcing on July 23 that “this city has been under attack for more than one year from the Russian army.” The Kherson police chief also stated the following day:

Leave a Comment