Kherson bombardment tempers joy at Russian pullout

STORY: Ukrainian Liliia Khrystenko's parents were sat on a bench outside their apartment with friends when Russian missiles began raining down on their Kherson neighborhood.

Her mother's head was wounded, and her father struck in the liver by shrapnel.

38-year-old Khrystenko was inside with her young son when the first explosion shook the building.

"There was a lot of dust, you couldn’t see anything. My son and I hid in the bathroom. I heard my father screaming, telling me to call an ambulance, because my mother was wounded. But I couldn’t call an ambulance, because the mobile connection was gone. I went outside with my child, and my mother was lying in the building entrance, face down, covered in blood. And my father was sitting by her side, saying he was going to die."

Both of Khrystenko's parents died of their wounds.

Her mother's body lay on the street for a day before being removed.

Medics were unable to revive her father in hospital.

"It's so unfair. What did they do? They were great people. It's very hard, I don't know how to survive this. God help me, please."

Russian forces occupied Kherson for nine months before retreating to the other side of the Dnipro river, having been pushed back by Ukrainian forces.

But just over two weeks after they were driven out, Russian troops began shelling the southern city from across the river, putting residents back in the firing line.

The attacks have caused power outages and shortages as winter sets in.

Elderly resident Liudmyla Antonenko and her son Oleksandr Antonenko are still living in their apartment, despite a gaping hole in the wall after it was hit by a Russian missile.

“The window filled up with light, the whole room was lit up. Then there were many explosions. Then it calmed down, and then started again. There were two or three rounds. We were so scared. I am happy Oleksandr is still here. If the missile landed 10-30 cm from there, I wouldn’t be here. But I am 82 years old, it’s not that big of a deal."

With power restored, the pair have some comforts.

But there is still no running water, and they cannot receive any Ukrainian TV stations.

At least 32 people in the Kherson region have been killed by Russian attacks since the pullout from the city ended on November 11, according to police.

Some residents have loaded their possessions into vehicles and left.

Humanitarian aid is being distributed to those who remain.