Ukrainian soldiers celebrate with locals as they reach centre of Kherson

Ukrainian soldiers celebrate with locals as they reach centre of Kherson

A video has captured the moment Ukrainian soldiers celebrated with locals as they reached the centre of Kherson.

Earlier on Friday, Russian defence chiefs claimed they had completely retreated from the vital strategic city.

Amid the apparent retreat, pictures emerged of locals adorned with the Ukrainian flag gathering in the city’s central square.

In the new video, Ukrainians are heard chanting and embracing with the soldiers after entering the city - which had been occupied by Russian forces since March.

The arrival of Kyiv’s troops in the key city was confirmed by Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency which also threatened to “destroy” any Russian soldiers who resisted.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Defence said Russian forces were preparing to retreat from the west bank of the Dnipro River due to supply issues.

In the early hours of Friday morning, it was reported that Russian forces had completed the withdrawal and had blown up a key bridge over the river to stop Ukrainian forces pursuing them as they retreated.

“The Ukrainian Army is already in Kherson! Slava Ukraine!” tweeted Ukrainian MP, Oleksiy Goncharenko at around midday.

In a statement carried by Russian state news agencies, the defence ministry said the withdrawal was completed at 5am on Friday and no military equipment was left behind.

Ukrainian regional official, Serhii Khlan, however, said he had been informed "a lot" of hardware had been left behind.

Despite abandoning their positions on the western bank, Russian forces still control about 70 per cent of the Kherson region but have suffered damaging territorial losses in Ukraine.