Glory to Heroes: In Kherson, civilians raise the Ukrainian flag in the face of Russian troops

Russia announced that its forces had captured the Ukrainian city of Kherson on the morning of Wednesday, 2 March. The city of 300,000 in southern Ukraine has been the scene of heavy fighting, with videos shared by residents showing soldiers and tanks in the main square. In one of the videos, a man waves the Ukrainian flag in front of invading soldiers.

A civilian holds two Ukrainian flags in front of three tanks lined up at Freedom Square in Kherson. The video, posted on March 2, the day Russian troops arrived in the city, was widely shared on social media.

The tanks are decorated with the letter “Z” painted white in a distinctive sign of Russian military equipment, used to distinguish Russian vehicles from Ukrainian vehicles since the offensive began in February. In the foreground, soldiers in white armbands – another identification mark used by Russian forces – challenge the man who continues to wave the flags.

A team of France 24 observers were able to confirm that this video was indeed taken in Kherson, in front of the regional administration building. In another video, likely filmed a little earlier, we can see the same person holding the flags.

The caption to the video reads, “In Kherson, some brave people took the Ukrainian flag that the occupiers tried to remove from the administration building.”

In this second video, a soldier is first seen walking away from the administration building with a draped Ukrainian flag. Four people in civilian clothes approached him. They face each other, hidden from view by plants. The soldier appears to be retreating and then the civilians raise and wave three Ukrainian flags.

“Glory to the heroes of Ukraine!” The person who is photographing shouts. According to the video caption, civilians stole flags from Russian soldiers in valiant defiance of the Russian invasion.

Soldiers and tanks were photographed in the streets

Fighting has been going on in Kherson for several days, as shown in a video posted on March 1 showing tanks and soldiers in the streets:

The video, which was geolocated by @arturkesik on Twitter and verified by France 24 monitors team, was filmed in North Kherson. The video, filmed from a window of a building, shows two tanks, one with a “Z” on its side, parked at an intersection. About 15 men in uniform run across the street.

The Russian armed forces took control of the city on the night of Tuesday, 2 March, and a photo on Wednesday showed about 15 armored vehicles in front of the regional administration building in Kherson. The date and time – March 2 at 2:15 a.m. – can be seen in the upper left of the image, taken by a surveillance camera.

The video was posted on Telegram on March 2. We can recognize the administration building in the background.

The head of the Kherson regional administration, Gennady Lagota, announced at 9 am on Wednesday that the city was “completely surrounded by the enemy”. However, on the same day, Kherson Mayor Igor Kulikayev announced on Facebook that the city is still Ukrainian.

The Russian attack on Ukraine began on February 24. On the same day, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Russian forces had reached Kherson and had captured the North Crimean Canal, which supplies the peninsula with drinking water. The canal was closed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and its large-scale restoration has been announced in Russia.

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