Daily attacks on Ukraine's Kherson temper joy at Russian pullout

  • Russian troops fled Kherson after months of occupation
  • Russian forces now launch daily attacks on Kherson
  • Kherson faces shortages, power supply problems

KHERSON, Ukraine, Nov 28 (Reuters) - When Russian missiles began raining down on Liliia Khrystenko’s neighbourhood in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, her parents were sitting on a bench outside their apartment block and chatting to friends.

Khrystenko, 38, was in the apartment with her young son when the first explosion shook the building. Her mother was wounded in the head and her father was struck in the liver by shrapnel.

"There was a lot of dust, you couldn’t see anything...I heard my father screaming, telling me to call an ambulance, because my mother was wounded. But I couldn’t call an ambulance, because the (mobile) connection was gone," she told Reuters through tears outside the apartment building.

"I went outside with my child, and my mother was lying in the building entrance, face down, covered in blood. And my father was sitting by her side, saying he was going to die."

Both died of their wounds. Khystenko's mother's body lay on the street for a day before being removed. Medics were unable to revive her father in hospital.

"It's so unfair. What did they do (wrong)? They were great people. It's very hard, I don't know how to survive this. God help me, please," Khrystenko said.

A little over two weeks after Ukrainian forces drove Russian troops out of Kherson after nearly nine months of occupation, residents of the southern city are back in the firing line.

The Russian troops withdrew only as far as the other side of the River Dnipro after being pushed back by Ukrainian forces, and are now shelling the city from across the river.

At least 32 people in the Kherson region have been killed by Russian attacks since the pullout from the city was completed on Nov. 11, police said.

They did not say how many had been killed in Kherson city, home to 280,000 people before the war, but local officials said Khrystenko's parents were among seven killed there last Thursday.

Khrystenko said she had only recently moved into her parents' apartment, believing it was safer than her own flat on the 14th floor of a building in another part of the city.


The Russian attacks have increased problems in Kherson such as power outages and shortages as winter sets in. Some residents have loaded their possessions into vehicles and left. Humanitarian aid is being distributed to those who remain.

Oleksandr Antonenko, 53, and his elderly mother are still living in their apartment despite a gaping hole in the wall after it was hit by a Russian missile.

"We have gas, we have power. I wish we had water too, then we could go to the bathroom properly," he said, wearing warm clothes and a hat inside the devastated apartment.

His mother, Liudmyla Antonenko, was shaken by the explosion but remains defiant.

"The window filled up with light, the whole room was lit up. Then there were many explosions. Then it calmed down, and then started again. There were two or three rounds. We were so scared," she said in the remains of the apartment.

"But I am 82 years old, it’s not that big of a deal...We are ready to take on any (challenge). We marked every day (of the occupation) in the calendar, every day we counted."

Additional reporting by Felix Hoske and Stefaniia Bern, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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