From Jamie Peipon: While Ukrainian flags have been everywhere in Kherson these past few days, today was the official flag-raising ceremony. President Zelenskyy came down for the occasion. In the picture below, you can see him walking in the downtown area. This is only about 10 kilometers (well within range) of the current front line. This is territory that was occupied by russians less than a week ago. In addition, there have been widespread reports about large numbers of russian soldiers who abandoned their uniforms and are in civilian clothing in the city. When asked why he would risk coming, Zelenskyy said that he wanted to feel the energy of the people and that seeing the joy in freedom really motivates him to continue the fight.
But Ukraine does not appear to be stopping at Kherson. There have been several reports about Ukrainian special forces launching an amphibious operation on the Kinburn Peninsula. This peninsula is actually southwest of Kherson on the opposite side of the Dnipro River. If true (and successful), this will go down as another masterstroke by Ukrainian strategists. The land itself has strategic value for controlling the area where the Dnipro flows into the Black Sea, but it would also allow Ukraine to flank russia’s defensive positions. The trenches russia dug are all focused on protecting from an attack right out of Kherson. Attacking through the Kinburn Peninsula would allow Ukraine to slip behind those trenches. I’ve never fought in a trench, but I’m sure that having the enemy come at you from behind is not something one would hope to experience.
In the east, fighting has reportedly intensified. There are surely heavy losses on the russian side, but Ukraine cannot be without losses either. The Ukrainian General Staff is reporting that russia is evacuating civilians from the key occupied cities of Kreminna, Rubizhne, and Severodonetsk. This is a hopeful sign for Ukraine as this is exactly what happened over the past couple of weeks in Kherson, which, as we know now, was the precursor to Kherson’s liberation.
The Ukrainian railway service started a new route: Kyiv – Mykolayiv. The city of Mykolayiv is just north of Kherson and has been the target of shelling and missile strikes since the beginning of the war. The Ukrainian rail service has already started repairing the tracks on the way to Kherson and plans to restore service there within only ten days. For the record, that is just an unbelievably short amount of time. I’ve written about the Ukrainian Rail Service before, but it is worth repeating: the men and women of this service, Ukrzaliznitsya, are some of the great unsung heroes of this war.
“Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?”