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Russia launches New Year’s Eve strikes against Ukraine

Russia launches New Year’s Eve strikes against Ukraine

by host

Russia fired off a fresh barrage of strikes at Ukraine on New Year’s Eve, launching nearly 100 Shahed loitering munitions against cities across the country. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said their air defense forces had shot down 87 of the Iranian-made drones.

A 15-year-old boy was killed and seven people were wounded after debris from one of the drones that was downed hit a residential building in Odesa, the head of the regional administration said according to the Associated Press.

The latest holiday launch came on the heels of an air attack on Friday, during which the Ukrainian Air Force brought down 114 of 158 projectiles fired by Russia. Kyiv said Friday’s bombardment, the biggest of the war, had killed at least 45 people.

National unity took center stage during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year address to the nation, though the president only referenced the war obliquely. He praised Russian troops — but did not mention Ukraine by name, nor did he make direct reference to the so-called special military operation, Kremlin-speak for the war in Ukraine.

“What united us and unites us is the fate of the Fatherland, a deep understanding of the highest significance of the historical stage through which Russia is passing,” Putin said to the nation. Putin said Russia would never retreat and there was no force that could divide Russians and stop the country’s development, the AP reported citing state media.

On Saturday, Ukrainian strikes against Belgorod, a Russian city approximately 35 kilometers from the border, killed at least two dozen and wounded more than 100, according to regional Russian authorities — but the attack did not feature in Putin’s four-minute video message.

In his midnight address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy marked 676 days of war by commending the resilience of Ukraine’s citizens and soldiers and highlighting Ukraine’s invitation to join the European Union.

“We do not know for certain what the new year will bring us,” Zelenskyy said, with Ukraine’s counteroffensive largely stalled and the increasing likelihood of stalemate across the front. “But this year we can add: whatever it brings, we will be stronger.”

This story has been updated.

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