STORY: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived in Kherson on Monday, greeted with cheers in the newly liberated city, as residents gathered to raise the Ukrainian flag.
"Kherson is Ukraine forever. It was Ukraine. It is Ukraine. It will be Ukrainian all the time."
Kherson is the biggest victory Ukrainian troops have won so far, and Zelenskiy vowed to drive out Russia from all its occupied territory.
"We are ready for peace but our peace, for our country, for all our country, all our territory. We respect the law and respect the sovereignty of all the countries but now we are speaking of our country. That's why we are fighting against Russian aggression."
Escorted by armed bodyguards, Zelenskiy told a gathering of soldiers that they had "proved it was impossible to kill Ukraine," before a silent tribute to troops who died during the offensive.
Russian troops left behind a city in ruins - buildings and infrastructure destroyed, and streets littered with landmines. The only bridge linking Kherson city to Russian-controlled territory was destroyed - according to local Ukrainian officials, by Russia.
Zelenskiy said earlier Ukraine had already gathered evidence of at least 400 war crimes committed by Russian troops during their occupation of the area, including killings and abductions.
"The Russian army left behind the same savagery it did in other regions of the country it entered."
Residents in and around Kherson interviewed by Reuters have described killings and abductions under Russian occupation.
Russia denies its troops target civilians or have committed atrocities in occupied areas. Mass burial sites have been found in other parts of Ukraine previously occupied by Russian troops, including some with civilian bodies showing signs of torture.
The United Nations on Monday called for Russia to be held accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, approving a resolution recognizing that Russia is responsible for reparation in the country.