Warning sirens sounded in the southern cities of Odessa and Mykolaiv, as well as in the Dnieper in the center of the country.
BSeveral Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, were targeted by Russian strikes on Saturday that killed at least one person and wounded around 30, which did not stop the Ukrainian president from vowing that his country would fight until “victory”.
“We are fighting and we will continue to fight. In favor of this word: ‘Victory’,” Mr. Zelensky said in his speech at the New Year’s ceremony. In his will, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his role was “morally correct.”
In the Ukrainian capital, AFP journalists heard at least eleven explosions in the afternoon as residents prepared to celebrate the New Year. According to the Kyiv administration, the blasts killed at least one person and injured 22 others. According to AFP, they tore down the facade of the four-star Alfavito Hotel in the city center, spreading rubble on the street.
Nearby sidewalks, including those in the National Palace of Arts, were covered in glass from blown windows. Filmmaker Yaroslav Mudenko, 23, who lives in the area, said he was taking a shower before heading to a New Year’s party when he heard the blast. The recent Russian strikes didn’t affect his willingness to go out and participate in these festivities. “Our enemies, the Russians, can destroy our peace, but they cannot destroy our spirit. This year, it is important to have people close to you,” he explained.
“Ukraine will not forgive,” replied Mr. Zelensky promised that “those who order such strikes and conduct them will not be forgiven.” He announced shortly after in his New Year’s greetings that the war against Russia would be “victory” in 2023.
Russian shelling caused destruction and fire in Mykolaiv in the south, where at least six people were wounded, and in Khmelnytskyi in the west, four. The head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, accused Moscow of deliberately targeting residential areas. “War criminal Putin celebrates New Year by killing people,” he wrote on Twitter.
According to Ukrainian Chief of Staff Valery Salushny, 12 of the 20 cruise missiles launched by the Russians were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses, including strategic bombers from the Caspian Sea.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev, meanwhile, made a trip to Bagmouth, a town that Russian soldiers have been trying to capture since the summer. “The Russian barbarians will not break us!”, he began. After several military setbacks on the frontline, Russia has opted for a tactic of striking Ukrainian infrastructure since October, causing massive cuts to electricity and running water.
Around the same time, Russian television in the Far East aired Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s address, a difference in time zones with Moscow. Standing with soldiers who fought in Ukraine and those he decorated at military headquarters in southern Russia, Mr.
“That is what we are fighting for today, protecting our people in our own historical territories, in Russia’s new constituent entities,” he said. In September, Russia said it would annex four Ukrainian territories.
The Russian president also slammed “a real sanctions war declared on us” by the West. “Those who started this anticipated the total destruction of our industry, finances and transportation. This will not happen”. He accused the Americans and Europeans of “cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and divide Russia”.
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