'Kherson is my home': Ukrainian soldiers welcomed as heroes in liberated city after Russian retreat

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo was among the first journalists in Kherson city after Russia's withdrawal.'It felt like life had suddenly been pulled back into the streets,' he said.

Ukrainian soldiers have been welcomed as heroes in the southern city of Kherson, following the withdrawal of Russian forces to the opposing side of the Dnieper River.

On Saturday, ITV News witnessed firsthand as Ukrainian soldiers were swarmed by residents asking for selfies and autographs.

In Kherson's central square, thousands gathered to celebrate the city's liberation, after Russian forces had occupied it since March.

Groups of people, many of whom were draped in the yellow and blue colours of Ukraine's national flag, rejoiced in song and waved flags.

One woman told ITV News: "This is my home, Kherson is my home. She added: "Kherson is Ukraine."

Meanwhile, as the celebrations continued on the streets, ITV News Global Security Editor Rohi Kachroo was shown around a building, in which Sergei and his friend Mykolai - both Ukrainian soldiers - were detained by Russian police for part of Kherson's occupation.

He described how the duo shared a basement cell, where they were forced to endure cold showers in the dark.

Russia announced its forces had withdrawn from Kherson city on Friday, with the Kremlin saying that Henichesk - a city on the Azov Sea 200 kilometres southeast of Kherson - would now serve as the region’s "temporary capital".

Meanwhile, Ukraine's military said it was overseeing "stabilisation measures" around the city to make sure it was safe.

The national police chief of Ukraine, Ihor Klymenko, said on Facebook that about 200 officers were at work in Kherson, setting up checkpoints and documenting evidence of possible war crimes.

'This is my home, Kherson is my home'

Police teams were also working to identify and neutralise unexploded ordnance, while one sapper was wounded as they de-mined an administrative building, Mr Klymenko said.

Moscow's retreat from Kherson city comes six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed the Kherson region and three other provinces in southern and eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin has claimed the territories as its own despite the annexations representing a breach of international law.

Although the city has now been liberated, an advisor to the mayor of Kherson has described the situation there as "a humanitarian catastrophe".

Roman Holovnya said the city's remaining residents lacked water, medicine and food, while key basics like bread went unbaked because a lack of electricity.

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