Air-raid sirens rang in the new year in Kyiv as Russia launched a barrage of drone and missile strikes targeting the Ukrainian capital and other cities.
Sirens blared for more than four hours in Kyiv as the city came under attack late on December 31 and early on January 1.
Ukraine’s air force said it destroyed 45 Iranian-made kamikaze drones used in the barrage, including 32 after midnight. Russia also reportedly fired 20 missiles at targets in various areas of the country, with the Ukrainian military saying most were shot down.
The attacks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated in his televised New Year’s address that the Kremlin would continue its unprovoked war, which was initially cast as a short-term military operation but is now approaching its 11th month.
Speaking from Russia’s Southern Military District flanked by soldiers, Putin claimed that “moral, historical rightness” was on Russia’s side.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, writing on social media after the attacks began on December 31, criticized Putin for continuing to attack Ukraine over the holiday season and said history would not treat the Russian president kindly.
“There were several waves of missile attacks on New Year’s Eve. Missiles targeting people…. No one in the world will forgive you for this. Ukraine will not forgive,” he said.
In his New Year’s address, Zelenskiy told the Ukrainian people that “I want to wish all of us one thing — victory.”
In a post on Telegram, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person had been killed and 22 wounded, including a Japanese journalist, in the December 31 attack on the capital.
He added that 30 percent of Kyiv residents were without electricity.
Oleksandr Pavlyuk, deputy commander of Ukraine’s land forces, wrote on Telegram that civilian sites in three districts of Kyiv were damaged, including a private home and a hotel.
“For the occupiers, there are no laws and customs of warfare,” he wrote. “They think they will defeat us: If not on the battlefield, then by destroying our cities.”
“But…they are doomed to failure,” he added. “Because we will not stop fighting until we regain every inch of our land.”
The fresh attacks come just days after Russia launched what has been described as one of its largest air strikes on Ukraine since the start of the war. (RFE/RL)