Russia's war on Ukraine: Joy at liberation of Kherson shows why West must continue to support Volodymyr Zelenskyy – Angus Robertson

The happiness of the people of Kherson is clear to see. Civilians recently freed from Russian occupation have been celebrating on the streets, welcoming Ukrainian army liberators with tears and hugs, and flying the blue and yellow national colours in defiance of Vladimir Putin.

People celebrate in the centre of Kherson, Ukraine, yesterday after it was retaken from Russian forces (Picture: Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images)
People celebrate in the centre of Kherson, Ukraine, yesterday after it was retaken from Russian forces (Picture: Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images)

Kherson was the only regional capital to have been captured by invading Russian forces, who have now had to retreat across the River Dnipro following Ukrainian advances. It is a humiliation for the Russian president who ordered the invasion and it is an unqualified success for Ukraine.

Who could not be touched by the emotional rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem in Kherson as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the liberated city and joined military personnel and local civilians in a flag-raising ceremony in the town centre. This was the same town centre where in March this year unarmed Ukrainians stood in the way of Russian tanks and armoured vehicles.

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President Zelenskyy is hopefully correct in hoping that this is the beginning of the end of the conflict. However, the war in Ukraine is still far from a conclusion, notwithstanding recent successes for the Ukrainian military in Kherson and in the north of the country.

More than 400 war crimes by the Russian occupiers have reportedly come to light in the Kherson region. Retreating Russian forces from Kherson will no doubt be redeployed with the aim of reversing their humiliation elsewhere. We must continue to do everything to support Ukraine secure victory. Slava Ukraini.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the recaptured city of Kherson yesterday (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)