Ukrainian troops entered Kherson on Nov. 11, two days after Russia declared its retreat. Kherson, a city with a pre-war population of nearly 300,000 people, was the only regional capital sacked by Russia.
Kherson residents held large-scale protests in March and April, demanding that Russian troops leave the city. Russia suppressed protests by force.
On Aug. 29, Ukraine began a southern counteroffensive tasked with retaking Kherson. As Ukrainian troops approached the city and destroyed Russian supply lines, Moscow was forced to retreat.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Nov. 9 authorized the Russian retreat from the Dnipro River's west bank, where Kherson is located. Russian troops fled soon after, blowing up at least seven bridges in the region and destroying critical infrastructure.
In total, Ukraine liberated 179 settlements in the south within a week.
After the Russians left, Kherson residents immediately took to the streets to celebrate liberation after over eight months of occupation. Soon, Kherson Oblast authorities returned to the city, and Ukrainian services began to operate in the regional capital.
"The people of Kherson were waiting. They never gave up on Ukraine. Hope on Ukraine('s liberation) is always fulfilled — and Ukraine always recaptures what belongs to it," President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Nov. 11.
The Kyiv Independent publishes photos from the joyful, liberated southern Ukrainian regional capital – Kherson.
A man with a Ukrainian flag stands on a car celebrating Ukrainian troops entering the city on Nov. 12, in Kherson, Ukraine. (Yevhenii Zavhorodnii)
Two men with a Ukrainian flag stand on a car celebrating Ukrainian troops entering the city on Nov. 12, in Kherson, Ukraine. (Yevhenii Zavhorodnii)
A woman hugs a Ukrainian soldier on Nov. 12, in Kherson, Ukraine. (Andriy Dubchak)
Kherson residents take pictures with Ukrainian soldiers, who liberated Kherson, on Nov. 12, in Kherson, Ukraine. (Andriy Dubchak)
Ukrainian lawmaker turned soldier, Roman Lozynskyi, signs Ukrainian flags of Kherson residents on Nov. 12, in Kherson, Ukraine.(Yevhenii Zavhorodnii)
A woman with a Ukrainian flag celebrates Ukrainian troops entering Kherson on Nov. 12, 2022. (Andriy Dubchak)
A man with a child holds Ukrainian flags on Nov. 12 in downtown Kherson, (Yevhenii Zavhorodnii)
A woman with a Ukrainian flag rides on top of a car celebrating the liberation of Kherson on Nov. 12, in Kherson, Ukraine. (Andriy Dubchak)
People with Ukrainian flags dance in joy of liberation on Nov. 12, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine. (Andriy Dubchak)