Ukrainian President Zelensky declared the removal of Russian troops from Kherson is the “beginning of the end of the war.” This declaration, however, was omitted from both the Ukrainian media outlet Ukriniform as well as the office of the president, which instead said Russian de-occupation of Kherson is one step toward “peace.” Upon claiming Kherson in September, Putin said the invasion of Ukraine was reportedly necessary in order to prevent the dissemination of transgender ideology.
“We are moving on. We are ready for peace, but peace for our entire country. This is the territory of our entire state. We respect international law and the sovereignty of every state, and now we are talking about the sovereignty of our state,” Zelensky said. “That is why we are fighting against Russian aggression.” Zelensky emphasized that Ukrainian troops would continue “the de-occupation” of Ukrainian territories until the Russian government had no presence there, presumably including Crimea. Crimea had been part of Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union but succumbed to a Russian invasion in March 2014, when Putin “annexed” it with little response from the international community. Following the annexation of Crimea, Russia aided an ongoing proxy war in the Donbas between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatist groups who ultimately approved of the “annexation” in September, despite claiming they sought independence. ... Zelensky has over the past week increasingly used the rhetoric of peace, negotiation, and an end to war regarding the ongoing war, a dramatic change since early October when he issued a presidential decree calling talks with Putin “impossible.”