Ukrainian troops on Friday celebrated the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson, a major victory for Kyiv.
"Today is a historic day," Zelensky said in a post on Telegram, reports the New York Times. "As of now, our defenders are on the approaches of the city. But special units are already in the city."
Footage of civilians hugging Ukrainian soldiers and waving Ukrainian flags emerged hours after Russia announced it had withdrawn from the west bank of the Dnipro River.
"I thought the Russian army would defend and there'd be a kind of siege like in Mariupol," the eastern port devastated in weeks of battle, said Andrey Trach, a resident of Odessa who works in Kyiv. "It's a very significant day for Ukraine because it shows the entire world that Ukraine can and definitely will defend every square kilometer and inch of territory."
"The Ukrainian flag is raised in Kherson city. From now on, the Ukrainian flag will appear on all buildings in Kherson. This is what we have dreamed of from the first days of occupation," said Serhiy Khlan, a member of Ukraine's Kherson regional council.
Zelenskyy appealed to Russian soldiers on the west bank to surrender.
"We guarantee that you will be treated in accordance with the law and international standards. And to those Russian military who disguised themselves in civilian clothes and are hiding somewhere, I want to say that you cannot hide. We will find you anyway," he said.
Kremlin Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashaekov in a statement said not a single piece of military equipment was left on the right bank.
"There were no losses in manpower or military equipment and material resources of the Russian group of forces," he added.
The final Russian withdrawal came six weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed the Kherson region and three other Ukrainian provinces, vowing they would remain Russian forever. Moscow's forces still control about 70% of the Kherson region.
The Kremlin said the pullback of troops did not represent an embarrassment for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow continues to view the entire Kherson region as part of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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