Kherson celebrates being liberated from Russia: World in Photos


World in Photos: How Kherson celebrated being liberated from Russian occupation

As Grid reported Friday, Ukraine’s recapture of Kherson — for all its strategic and symbolic significance — hardly means that the war is over. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was, looking at the scenes from the city and its surrounding areas since the Ukrainian troops moved in. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was only the most prominent among people who appeared in Kherson on Monday to join the celebrations. For residents, it’s the end of a Russian occupation that had lasted more than six months. The change came suddenly — and brought an outburst of joy.

In these photos, flowers for the soldiers who liberated the city — along with hugs and kisses as well. Jubilation in the city’s Independence Square — and a more solemn moment, as Zelenskyy thanked individual Ukrainian soldiers. Everywhere, meanwhile, there were the blues and yellows of the Ukrainian flag: children with flags, soldiers signing huge flags for grateful residents, flags hoisted where the Russian tricolor had flown and a man lifting the flag at what had been a Russian checkpoint only a few days ago. The blue and yellow also appeared via cans of spray paint, deployed to cover the hated “Z” on an abandoned Russian military vehicle.

Again, the victory at Kherson by no means signifies that the end of the war is near. But it’s without question a turning point. On another side of the world today, President Joe Biden was asked for his views of the news from Kherson. It’s “a significant victory,” the president said. “I can do nothing but applaud the courage, determination, and capacity of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian military.”

No doubt the people in these photos would agree.

Dozens of people are seen from above, celebrating at a square. Many are waving the Ukrainian flag.
Three Ukrainian soldiers take a selfie with Zelensky.
Zelensky shakes a soldier's hand and holds what looks like a medal in a red box. Behind them, other soldiers gather at a square.
Two men smile and greet two soldiers in the street.
Dozens of people are seen smiling and waving at a square, some of them have the Ukrainian flag around them.
A man is playing the guitar at a square while many people smile and cheer him on, many waving Ukrainian flags.
Two girls have Ukrainian flags around them, while two soldiers sign the flags.
A man kisses a Ukrainian soldier on the cheek while many people around them celebrate. The soldier smiles.
A woman with the Ukrainian flag around her hugs a soldier.
Two men stand on the balcony of a house with broken windows, one of them stands of a stool, repairing something on the ceiling.
In a smoky area, two men paint a trailer with yellow and blue, Ukrainian colors.
A man jumps to reach a billboard while holding what looks like a broomstick, trying to remove the banner.
Three boys smile as two of them stand on top of a destroyed car and one of them pretends to dive it. On of the boys on top of the car is waving the Ukrainian flag.
A man stands on top of what look like roadblocks painted in yellow and blue and waves the Ukrainian flag.
An older lady holds a bouquet of flowers and hands some to a soldier inside a car. They both smile.
An European Union and an Ukrainian flag are seen together on top of a mast.
  • Tom Nagorski
    Tom Nagorski

    Global Editor

    Tom Nagorski is the global editor at Grid, where he oversees our coverage of global security, U.S.-China relations, migration trends, global economics and U.S. foreign policy.

  • Mariana Labbate
    Mariana Labbate

    Global Editorial Assistant

    Mariana Labbate is the editorial assistant for Grid's Global team.