Zelensky Vows to ‘Ravage’ Russian Forces as New Strikes Emerge

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised in his New Year speech to “ravage” Russian forces in Ukraine, where new strikes in Donetsk and Odessa on the night of Sunday to Monday left five people dead.

Moscow and kyiv have seen an escalation of violence in recent days with an unprecedented attack which left 24 dead on Saturday in Belgorod, Russia, following a missile attack against Ukraine on Friday, described as “massive” by Kiev, and which caused around forty deaths.

The Ukrainian capital kyiv observes a day of mourning on Monday for the victims of this attack, who number 19 in the city, the municipality said.

Denis Pushilin, head of the Donetsk administration appointed by Moscow, reported on Telegram “13 injured and four dead” after strikes on the night of Sunday to Monday in the city in eastern Ukraine under control Russian.

He had reported earlier in the evening “massive bombings” in several districts of Donetsk which left seven injured.

In southern Ukraine, Odessa Governor Oleg Kiper reported that “one person died as a result of an enemy attack”, and reported three injured, in messages on Telegram.

In western Ukraine, Lviv region governor Maksym Kozytskyi said air defense systems had shot down drones coming from Russia in the early morning.

Drones and F-16

During his New Year’s speech, Volodymyr Zelensky promised to “ravage” the Russian forces that invaded his country, at the end of a year marked by the failure of Ukraine’s summer counter-offensive and the freezing almost the entire front line.

Ukraine will have at least “a million” additional drones in its arsenal next year, the Ukrainian president added, as well as F-16 fighter jets supplied by its Western partners.

His Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin assured him during his New Year’s greetings that his country would “never back down”.

After a very martial speech last year, he proclaimed on Sunday that the year 2024 would be that of “family”.

Without explicitly mentioning Ukraine, he paid tribute to the soldiers, “heroes”, assuring them of the “support of the entire nation”.

On Sunday, Russia struck Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, in response to an unprecedented attack on Belgorod, a Russian town located around thirty kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

The bombings in Belgorod, which killed 24 people and injured 108 others, according to the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, were the deadliest attack on civilians in Russia since the conflict began in February 2022.

Military or civilian targets in Kharkiv

Moscow claims that kyiv is responsible, but Ukraine has so far remained silent.

The Russian Defense Ministry assured Sunday that the armed forces had struck “decision centers and military installations” in Kharkiv.

But the governor of the targeted Ukrainian region, Oleg Sinegoubov, indicated that rockets had hit a hotel, residential buildings, clinics and hospitals on Saturday evening, injuring 28 people.

Among them, two teenagers and a Briton, who was the security advisor to a team of German journalists, according to the Ukrainian authorities.

Moscow still denies targeting civilian targets in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Air Force said six Russian guided missiles had targeted Kharkiv. She also said she had shot down 21 of the 49 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia towards its territory during the night and particularly targeting the south and east.

On Friday, Ukraine was devastated by a missile attack that it said was the most massive since the start of the conflict, excluding its very first days.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that 39 people had died across the country, but other deaths have since been announced, bringing the death toll to more than forty.

This article is originally published on .arabnews.fr

 

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