November 10, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 41 settlements in southern Ukraine had been liberated following Russia’s decision to withdraw to the east bank of the Dnipro River.

“Today we have good news from the south – the number of Ukrainian flags returning to their rightful place in the ongoing defense operation has already reached tens. 41 settlements have been liberated,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky used his daily video address to congratulate several units involved in the advance through the southern Kherson region.

He added: “Everything that is happening now has been achieved through months of hard struggle. Achieved by courage, pain and loss. It is not the enemy that is leaving. It is the Ukrainians who are suing the occupiers at great expense.

Zelensky said police units had moved into several Kherson settlements to begin stabilization measures, but liberating Ukrainian territory was only the first step in a long process.

“The first and fundamental thing is mine clearance. The occupiers leave behind thousands of mines and unexploded ordnance. I have often heard estimates that clearing Ukraine of Russian mines will take decades. We cannot not wait that long,” the Ukrainian president said.

“The invaders are mining everything: power lines, commercial businesses, fields, forests,” he said. “At the peak of mine contamination in Ukraine, we had 300,000 square kilometers of potentially deadly territory.”

Now, he said, thanks to the efforts of the sappers, “there are about 170,000 square kilometers left to be cleared. In particular, it is in the most difficult places – where the fighting continues, where the enemy will add more mines before its withdrawal, as is currently the case in Kherson.

Zelensky thanked the dozen countries helping with mine clearance. He also alluded to Ukraine’s objectives in the conflict.

“We must go all the way – on the battlefield and in diplomacy – so that our flags, the Ukrainian flags and never again any enemy tricolor are found on our entire territory, inside our internationally recognized border,” he said.

Zelensky also thanked the Netherlands and the United States for the new aid injections – around $100 million from the Netherlands and a new military assistance program from the United States. “Significant air defense assets. Exactly what we need, what we asked for,” he said.

Christi C. Elwood