Russia has claimed its strikes against Ukraine on New Year’s Eve that killed three people were targeting its neighbour’s drone production. A children’s hospital was among the buildings said to have been hit by Russian shelling. Ukrainian officials claim Russia is deliberately targeting civilians to sow fear.
#UPDATE Moscow said on Sunday its New Year’s Eve attacks on Ukraine targeted the pro-Western country’s drone production, claiming it had managed to scupper Kyiv’s “terror attacks” against Russia ￼ http://u.afp.com/igXW
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered his first wartime new year address moments before Russia unleashed a wave of new rocket strikes on Kyiv. “I wish one thing to all of us now – the victory,” Zelenskiy said, adding his hope that all of Ukraine, within its 1991 borders, would be recaptured this year. “We are ready to fight for it. That is why each of us is here. That is why I am here.” He concluded the video message with his signature sign-off, “Glory to Ukraine!”
Night-time shelling that battered parts of the southern city of Kherson killed one person, wounded another and blew out hundreds of windows in a children’s hospital, according to deputy presidential chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
Multiple blasts rocked Kyiv and other areas of Ukraine on Saturday and through the night, injuring dozens, a sign that the pace of Russia attacks had picked up. Ukrainian officials claimed Russia was now deliberately targeting civilians, seeking to create a climate of fear and dent morale.
On Saturday in Kyiv, an AP photographer at the scene of the explosions saw the body of a woman as her husband and son stood nearby. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said two schools were also damaged, including a kindergarten.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that his only wish for Ukrainians for 2023 was victory and he resolved to stay the course. “I want to wish all of us one thing – victory,” he said in a video message shortly before midnight as Ukrainians marked their first new year since the invasion. Zelenskiy reiterated that he would stay with his people while they were fighting for freedom. “We were told to surrender. We chose a counterattack,” he said. “We are ready to fight for it [freedom]. That’s why each of us is here. I’m here, we are here, you are here, everyone is here. We are all Ukraine.”
Russian leaders issued a series of defiant messages ahead of new year. President Vladimir Putin said Russia would “never give in” to the west, and was fighting for its “motherland, truth and justice … so that Russia’s security can be guaranteed”. It was his longest new year’s address in his two decades in charge.
Russia launched more than 20 cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets on Saturday, killing at least one person in Kyiv, the capital, and injuring another 20 people in what one Ukrainian official described as “terror on New Year’s Eve”. Fourteen of the injured were taken to hospital and at least one was in critical condition after Moscow’s second major missile attack in three days.
Ukrainian air defence forces destroyed 45 Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including 32 during attacks on Kyiv as its citizens attempted to welcome in the new year, Ukrainian command said.
Stefania, Ukraine’s Eurovision song contest winning entry, featured in London’s new year fireworks display last night, as did the colours of the Ukrainian national flag as England expressed solidarity with those under bombardment.
In its latest tally, Ukraine’s ministry of defence estimates that 106,720 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion. Accurate estimates of battlefield casualties are notoriously difficult to calculate. In November, the top general in the US estimated that 100,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or wounded in Ukraine, and that Kyiv’s armed forces had probably suffered a similar level of casualties.