"Today is the first anniversary of Kherson's liberation from Russian occupation," the Ukrainian leader said in his speech.
“Hero city. A symbolic city. A city of hope. The city of our people who did not submit to the enemy force and inspired all of us and the whole world with their resistance. These are our blue and yellow flags, which proved over and over again on the streets of Kherson and in many houses and apartments that Ukraine is united. All of it – from the northern border to our sea. These are months without communication, without information, but with faith – with faith in Ukraine.”
Zelenskyy emphasized that the entire south of Ukraine in November 2022 was convinced that Russia "never comes back forever" and thanked everyone who works in Kherson to protect Ukrainians and the military fighting on the east bank of Kherson Oblast.
Thanks to the Kherson operation last fall, the west bank of the Dnipro River was cleared of Russian occupation forces, said Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian military liberated a large part of Kherson Oblast and "added protection" to Mykolaiv, Odesa, and other cities in southern Ukraine.
After the liberation of Kherson, temporarily occupied Crimea "felt its future, saw how close we are," Zelenskyy added.
"I am proud of all our soldiers – all brigades, every battalion, all soldiers and commanders who fought last year," the president said, adding that independence is gained in battles and "one hardens one's spirit when one hears the gratitude of people liberated from the enemy."
“All those who are now leading our country in a difficult, painful, but necessary, vital marathon to the guaranteed freedom of Ukraine.”
Russia had occupied almost the entirety of Kherson Oblast at the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Russia attempted to hold sham "referendums" on Sept. 23, 2022 in the occupied territories of several regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson – with the aim of annexation. At the same time, Russian troops do not fully control any of these regions.
Russia announced the "results" of the pseudo-referendums on Sept. 27, alleging 87% to 99% "support".
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin "approved" the annexation of the seized territories of Ukraine on Oct. 5 by signing criminal "laws" on their "incorporation" into the Russian Federation.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported on the alleged complete withdrawal of occupation troops from Kherson on Nov. 11, while the Defense Forces also liberated a number of cities and towns on the southern front.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine