Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine was getting the south of its country back after nearly nine months of fighting.
“Today is a historic day. We are getting the south of the country back, we are getting Kherson back,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
He added: “As of now, our defenders are on the outskirts of the city, and we are very close to entering. But special units are already in the city.”
Moscow announced the completion of the withdrawal of 30,000 troops from the area yesterday, however authorities believe the evacuation had been ongoing for some time.
Ukraine painted the picture of a desperate retreat with Russian soldiers ditching uniforms and abandoning their equipment. Putin claimed that the entire Kherson was a part of Russia just five weeks ago.
The rout marks the third major retreat by Russian forces since the February 24 invasion.
Moscow’s forces around Kyiv in the north of the country fled in March after facing fierce Ukrainian resistance and a logistical breakdown.
In September, the Russian lines around Kharkiv collapsed in the face of a massive Ukrainian counteroffensive – this saw Kyiv’s forces reclaim huge swathes of occupied territory.
Now, Russian forces appear to have evacuated most, if not all, positions on the west side of the Dnipro River, including the strategically important Kherson City.