Kherson is under constant bombardment by Russian artillery as its residents try to survive. This contrasts with scenes of joy two weeks ago when the city was liberated by Putin’s forces.
Volodymyr Zelensky spoke overnight and said that Kherson was hit by Russian artillery 258 more times last week, with 21 additional attacks yesterday.
Strikes are directed at civil infrastructure. Zelensky said that a water plant which supplies Kherson and Mykolaiv with water was struck and destroyed. This had been rebuilt after earlier bombings. Apartment buildings were also damaged.
As Russian troops decimated both power and water supplies in Kherson, they have intensified the suffering of Kherson’s residents. They fled across the Dnipro River to escape the violence on November 11.
Anatoly Sikoza stands amid the ruin of a house where eight Ukrainians’ bodies were discovered. This was after Russian forces fled Kherson.
Oleksandr Antonenko (53), sits in front of the apartment building that was damaged in a recent Russian military attack in Kherson
Residents are being forced to walk to river as a new frontline for Russian and Ukrainian forces. They will be able to get water in buckets from artillery firings above.
Wood-fired stoves are warm and can be used for washing, cooking, and warming up in winter when temperatures drop below freezing.
There are aid tents now located in the main square, which was once the scene of an all-night party after the arrival of the Ukrainian troops in the city.
One supplies heat to keep people from freezing to death and the other provides power to charge phones. This is the main way for people to receive information about the war.
The third category is for evacuees, those whose lives have been made too difficult in Kherson and who want to flee.
Zelenskyy stated Monday night in his nightly video address that Russian forces had fired 258 shots on 30 settlements in the Kherson area over the past week.
According to Ukraine’s presidential office, at least four civilians were killed in Russian attacks and eleven others were injured.
Meanwhile Yaroslav Yanushevych, the regional governor, said 21 further attacks took place Monday – including on ‘residential quarters of Kherson’. Fortunately, no one was hurt in these strikes.
British military intelligence claimed Sunday that Kherson saw 54 strikes.
Hanna, a Ukrainian mother who lives in the city with her nine year-old daughter Nastya told CNN that she finds life’very difficult’ at the moment.
Defiantly she said, “I can tell we live much better now.” There is no water, power, or Russians. It’s nothing. It’s possible to get through it.
Supplies are slowly being restored with Mr Yanushevych stating Monday that approximately 25% of the city now have power, up from 17% last week.
There is no indication that Russia will stop its bombardments, and Ukraine’s capability to stop them is limited.
When they left Kherson across the river, Putin’s forces moved back to their well-established defensive lines.
Before the Russian defenses are removed, it would be extremely difficult and expensive for Ukraine to cross the river.
Western officials briefed journalists earlier in the month to say that Kyiv doesn’t have the capability for such an attack, and they don’t expect it will happen anytime soon, if ever, during the rest of this war.
A Russian shell destroyed a Kherson house on 25 November
This view shows an apartment block that was severely damaged by the recent Russian military attack in Kherson, Ukraine on November 27th.
They are therefore unable to stop the Russian guns that are currently firing on Kherson. This will mean that the city will continue to be under attack in the future.
Ukrainian war crimes investigators continue to uncover evidence about the sufferings of civilians living in the rubble of their cities as they try to save them.
According to officers, five torture rooms were found in the south city and four in the greater Kherson region.
Ukrainians claim that they were held, beat, threatened with death, and interrogated.
Experts in human rights warn that these allegations are just the beginning.
According to the Ukrainian National Police, over 460 war crimes by Russian soldiers were committed in recent occupied Kherson areas.
Dmytro Biliai, a 24-year-old officer in police, was confronted by a dozen Russian soldiers in August. He said that they offered him a chilling option: either hand over his gun or his mother and brother would disappear.
He His gun was handed over to soldiers, who had machine guns and were able to conceal their faces.
They dragged him away from his home in Chornobaivka, in the south, to a Kherson prison, where he claimed he was tortured, with his ears and genitals shocked with electricity.
He recalled, “It was like hell all across my body.” It burns so badly it feels like your blood is boiling. It just had to stop.
Oleksandr Antonenko (53), and Liudmyla (82) make a living in their apartment, which was destroyed by a recent Russian military attack in Kherson, Ukraine.
Two weeks after the Russians left the city, accounts like his help to uncover places where torture took place in Kherson. Kherson was a Kremlin-controlled area for eight months.
Oleksandra Matviichuk is the head of Centre for Civil Liberties. She said that they have received information for months about torture and other forms of persecution of civilians. I fear that terrible findings in Kherson will still be forthcoming.
Five people spoke to the Associated Press, alleging they were arbitrarily or tortured by Russians in Kherson. They also knew of other victims who vanished and suffered abuse.
Some people claimed that the Russians sometimes rounded up priests, soldiers and doctors without any specific reason. Some Russians were also allegedly tip-off by sympathisers, who gave names to people they believed to be aiding the Ukrainian military.
After being detained, they claimed they were kept in cramped cells with only a small amount of food and forced to learn the Russian national anthem.
According to reports, detainees were forced to disclose information about family members or friends with connections to the Ukrainian army. This included names and addresses that were disclosed in handwritten notes.
Bilyi, a police officer, was married to a military father. He was kept under radar during Russia’s occupation for several months, until he claimed that someone had tipped him off. He Four days in a cell, with other prisoners. Then, they were pulled out for questioning.
Investigators accused him not only of possessing a pistol but a Kalashnikov weapon and pressured him into revealing his father’s location. He said that they shocked him twice a day for a period of 30 minutes before finally releasing him.
The Ukrainian National Police claims that Russian soldiers committed more than 460 war crime in Kherson, which was recently occupied.
Two police stations were used to torture the victims. One police-run detention centre was also used. A prison and a private hospital were also used. Rubber batons, baseball bats, and an electrical shock machine were also found in these locations, according to Andrii Kovanyi who is a Kherson police officer.
In Kherson city centre, civilians line up to an evacuation station as they seek refuge against Russian attacks in other areas of Ukraine.
Rthur, whose hand was damaged by shrapnel during a Russian strike close to his Stepanivka home a week ago rests in a Kherson hospital bed
Igor was arrested in September at the call centre where his work was. He was asked to take off his shirt, and place his palms on a metal door to increase electricity flow.
The Russian soldier asked, “Are you ready?” Now you’re going be screaming like a bitch… We will kill and you will not get out here,” said Igor. He kept his first name secret to protect his identity.
According to the 22-year old, he was accused of providing Ukrainians military positions in Russia.
The AP saw photos from his phone that showed red circular marks lining his back. He Two days later, he was released. However, he did not write a letter informing the Russians about a relative of his uncle.
It will be difficult to document the crimes committed in Kherson, as no other city has been occupied for this long by Russia, according to Brian Castner, senior crisis advisor at Amnesty International.
He stated, “Evidence must always be collected and kept in order to preserve that chain of custody so that international justice can access it and the perpetrators can be held accountable.”
Kherson police are conducting investigations and gathering evidence. Local rights experts say that the justice system has become overwhelmed by the increasing number of people who arrive daily in Kherson.
Dmytro Polotnikov’s friend was taken by Russians in March when he tried to go to Kherson’s central square for errands. This happened shortly after the occupation began.
According to Mr Plotknikov, there were three other Russians who captured and released him. One of them still had visible bruises more than a month later, he stated.
However, since the Russians have left Kherson the most concerning thing for him are the Ukrainians that he collaborated with and stayed.
A neighbour of Mr Plotnikov posted a picture of his sister and her address in May to a Russian chat room, he stated.
He said that his sister is pro-Ukrainian and that the neighbor accused her of spreading hatred about Russians. He said that if the Russians had seen the letter, they could have gone to her home and arrested the family.
The woman was not taken into custody by the Ukrainian police, however, Mr Plotnikov stated.
He stated, “They should get punished.” “I’m ashamed of such people being around… Why in the 21st Century (can) you be tortured for pro-Ukrainian positions, and for your love for the Ukrainian language. I don’t understand it.