Ukraine’s president vowed to keep pushing Russian forces out of his country after they withdrew from Kherson, leaving behind devastation, hunger and booby traps in the southern Ukrainian city.

The Russian retreat from Kherson marked a triumphant milestone in Ukraine’s pushback against Moscow’s invasion almost nine months ago. Kherson residents hugged their troops and kissed them, in a scene of rapturous joy.

“We will see many more such greetings” of Ukrainian soldiers liberating Russian-held territory,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address Saturday.

He promised to the Ukrainian people living in villages and cities that are still under occupation: “We don’t forget anyone; we won’t leave anyone.”

Ukraine’s retaking of Kherson was a significant setback for the Kremlin and the latest in a series of battlefield embarrassments. It came some six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Kherson region and three other provinces in southern and eastern Ukraine — in breach of international law — and declared them Russian territory.

On Saturday morning, the Kremlin declared that its troops had been evacuated to the Dnieper River side by side from Kherson.

AP reporters drove from Mykolaiv to Kherson and saw downed electric lines, projectile casings, and the carcass of a cow. Many tanks were destroyed along the muddy road.

On Sunday, Ukrainian forces consolidated their grip on Kherson. Authorities contemplated the difficult task of clearing explosives and restoring basic services to the city.

A Ukrainian official described the situation at Kherson as “a humanitarian catastrophe.” Residents of the city still have no access to water, medicine or food. Electricity shortages have caused shortages of essentials such as bread and water.

Ukrainian police urged residents to help them identify Russian soldiers who were collaborating with them during the occupation of eight months. Following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city, Ukrainian police officers returned to Kiev on Saturday.

A girl and Ukrainian officer hug as they celebrate the recapturing in Kherson, Ukraine,
A Ukrainian officer and a girl hug each other as they celebrate their recapturing in Kherson (Ukraine).

A woman hugs Ukrainian officer as they celebrate the recapturing Kherson
The Ukrainian military claimed it was in charge of the oversight “stabilization measures” You should walk around the city to ensure it is safe.

A woman reacts with Ukrainian lawmaker and officer Roman Kostenko as they celebrate the recapturing in Kherson
As they celebrate Kherson’s recapturing, Roman Kostenko and a woman get emotional.

Ihor Klymenko is the chief of Ukraine’s national police. He posted Saturday on Facebook that around 200 officers were working in the city to set up checkpoints, and record evidence of war crimes.

In what could perhaps be the next district to fall in Ukraine’s march on territory illegally annexed by Moscow, the Russian-appointed administration of the Kakhovka district, east of Kherson city, announced Saturday it was evacuating its employees.

“Today, the administration is the number one target for Ukrainian attacks,” Pavel Filipchuk, the Moscow-installed leader in Kakhovka said this.

“Therefore, by order of the government of the Kherson region, we, as an authority, are moving to a safer territory, from where we will lead the district,” Telegram was his medium of communication.

Kakhovka lies on the left bank the River Dnieper and is upstream of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station.

A woman leans on Ukrainian lawmaker and officer Roman Kostenko .
Despite the fact that the city is now in the hands Ukrainians, many Russian territories remain under Russian control.

The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said six people died on Saturday as a result of Russian shelling.

Writing on Telegram on Sunday, he said four people were killed and one wounded in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, two were killed in the Kherson region, and two wounded in the central Dnipropetrovsk region.

Photos posted on social media showed activists from Ukraine removing plaques commemorating the occupation. Yellow Ribbon, a Ukrainian resistance movement in the occupation regions, posted a Telegram message showing two people removing memorial plaques that depict Soviet-era military figures.

Moscow’s announcement that Russian forces were withdrawing across the Dnieper River, which divides both the Kherson region and Ukraine as a whole, followed a stepped-up Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country’s south. In the past two months, Ukraine’s military claimed to have retaken dozens of towns and villages north of the city of Kherson, and the military said that’s where stabilization activities were taking place.

Ukrainian’s wave flags from cars in downtown Kherson, as celebrations break out over recapturing the city.
As celebrations begin over the recapturing of Kherson, Ukrainians wave flags out of their cars.

Dmytro Kuleba was the Ukrainian Foreign Minister. He sought to cool the excitement surrounding the Russian retreat from Kherson.

“We are winning battles on the ground, but the war continues,” He said it from Cambodia, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was hosting a summit.

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, told journalists Sunday that no joint statement was made on the summit’s results. “the American side and its partners insisted on an unacceptable assessment of the situation in Ukraine and around it.”

The support Ukraine receives, even from the United States, angers the Kremlin.