Russians ‘destroyed all critical infrastructure’, left explosives across Kherson: Ukrainian official

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Russians 'destroyed all critical infrastructure', left explosives across Kherson: Ukrainian official
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Ukrainians raced to restore electricity and drinking water services in the recaptured city of Kherson on Sunday, with local officials describing a “humanitarian catastrophe” caused by the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday evening that troops had already removed nearly 2,000 mines, tripwires and other explosives left by Russian troops across the city. Russian forces also intentionally destroyed as much infrastructure as possible before fleeing Kherson and retreating across the Dnieper, officials said.

“Occupiers destroyed all essential infrastructure – communication, water supply, heating, electricity,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address. “But we will restore everything. Believe me. Although it will take time, it is already clear to everyone that the result will be ours, Ukraine’s.

Officials in Kherson and its outlying villages said they had prioritized restoring electricity and clean water to residents of a city scarred by nearly nine months of war.

Russian troops captured Kherson in late February, just days after the war began. Their withdrawal from Kherson marks arguably the greatest humiliation of the entire conflict for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who claimed just two months ago that Moscow was “annexing” the entire province of Kherson to Russia.

Instead, his troops abandoned the city, fueling hopes in Kyiv and among Ukraine’s western allies that the tide has completely turned in Ukraine’s favor.

“The Ukrainians have just won an extraordinary victory where the only regional capital that Russia captured in this war is now back under a Ukrainian flag. And that’s a pretty remarkable thing,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said over the weekend.

Indeed, Mr. Zelenskyy promised that Ukrainian troops would press the advantage and seek to drive Russian forces out of all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, which Russia and its proxy forces seized in 2014.

But Ukraine’s leaders also face the daunting task of rebuilding war-torn cities. In Kherson, authorities are reportedly maintaining a strict 5 p.m. curfew as a safety measure and to allow crews to work around the clock to begin restoring vital services.

“The enemy has mined all critical infrastructure objects,” Yaroslav Yanushevych, governor of the Kherson region, said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Other local officials said most homes had no electricity or running water. Mobile phone service was also largely wiped out.

Kherson and its surrounding villages also face severe shortages of food and medicine. A Ukrainian official told The Associated Press on Sunday that the situation inside the city was nothing short of a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

• This article is based in part on reports from the telegraph services.

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