At the beginning of November, Russia withdrew from the Ukrainian city of Kherson following an eight-month occupation, but ever since it has faced multiple attacks and escalation, leaving several dozens killed and millions of people in the dark.
However, hardship for the city’s residents is far from over. The southern city with a pre-war population of 200,000 and its surroundings are still living the consequences of occupation, and feeling the deadly proximity of the Russian forces, now stationed across the Dnieper River.
Now residents experience almost daily power outages, water shortages, and shelling that have become a new reality. People are now relying on food or water rations. Some draw water from the Dnieper, risking Russian sniper rounds from the other bank.
Because of electricity outages, there are often lines of people charging their phones at communal power spots in the city parks. At night, residents with flashlights rummage through the rubble of their bombed homes.
Children still play at abandoned checkpoints raising a Ukrainian flag despite nearby explosions. Other residents seek to shame suspected Russian collaborators tied up in public.
Some cannot handle the harsh conditions and pack belongings in their cars, take their pets, and head for somewhere safer, hoping the war will end soon and allow them to return home.