A mother and son in front of their house in Izium, Ukraine, on Wednesday.Credit...Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press/New York Times
KYIV — Three months ago I met Vyacheslav Zadorenko, a community leader from the Kharkiv region. From the relative safety of Derhachi, he told me about how his village, a settlement on the Russian border, had been occupied in the first days of Russia’s invasion. His mother didn’t manage to escape. “My personal victory,” he said, “would be when I can return to my family house.” In midsummer, as Russia consolidated its gains and slowly secured more, that seemed a sad, impossible dream.
But now it’s come true. A video posted on Telegram shows Mr. Zadorenko reunited with his mother. “I’ve gathered all your things, my dear son,” she says, running toward him excitedly. “I knew you’d come to liberate me; I was waiting.” Bending down to hug her, he replies, “Mom, you’re as beautiful as ever.”
It’s a remarkable scene, one no doubt played out across the thousands of square miles of territory the Ukrainian forces have recaptured in recent days. A striking counteroffensive that liberated, according to the government, around 150,000 people, it has altered the shape of the nearly-seven-month conflict, delivering to Ukrainians a renewed sense of hope and a body blow to Russia.
Read the full story in The New York Times here.