news Kyiv rocked by explosions amid Russian New Year attacks
Less than an hour into 2023, Kyiv has witnessed a new series of explosions. After Russia attacked Ukraine with missiles targeting the capital and other cities ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram that the first explosions of the new year began about 30 minutes after midnight and hit two districts, adding that there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Earlier in the evening, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Ukrainians would fight until they were victorious.
“We fought and will continue to fight. For the main word: victory.”
“I want to say to everyone, Ukrainians, you are amazing! Look what we have been doing and what we are doing!” Zelensky said in an emotional speech.
“We will fight as one team. The whole country, all regions. I respect you all. I want to thank all the invincible regions of Ukraine,” he continued.
When the Russian region of the Far East rang in 2023, Russian leader Vladimir Putin gave a midnight speech, usually set against the backdrop of the Kremlin, standing between the soldiers and women who fought in Ukraine. .
He told them that “historical correctness” was on their side.
Around the same time, explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital, and AFP journalists heard at least 11 loud explosions in the early afternoon.
Klitschko said on social media that at least one person was killed and 22 others were injured as a result of Saturday’s attacks.
An explosion split a corner of Kyiv’s four-star Hotel Alfavid and spilled debris onto the street, an AFP reporter saw.
Nearby sidewalks were glazed from blown windows in the area, including Kyiv’s National Palace of Arts.
Filmmaker Jaroslav Mutenko, 23, lives in a nearby apartment complex and said he heard the boom as he was taking a shower as he prepared to go to a New Year’s Eve party.
He said there had been similar blasts in the area during previous attacks in October, but they weren’t as big as Saturday’s blast.
As rescuers cordoned off the street in front of his hotel, he told AFP he was still going to a party at a friend’s house.
“Our enemy, the Russians, can destroy our tranquility, but they cannot destroy our spirit.
“Why are you going to celebrate with your friends? I learned that it’s important to have people nearby this year.”
The attacks come as President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine enters its 11th month, with Russian strikes systematically targeting energy infrastructure and plunging millions of people into cold and darkness in the dead of winter. left behind.
A strike was also reported in the southern city of Mykolaiv, with local officials saying seven people were injured.
Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Sienkiewicz previously said that the strike resulted in a fire in one of the city’s districts and damaged several houses.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Saturday to help Ukrainians “until victory is certain” as Ukraine continues to rely on military support and aid from Europe and the United States to repel Russian aggression. .
Putin celebrates the new year
- In western Ukraine, at least four people were injured in the Khmelnitsky region, Governor Serhiy Gamari said, adding that parts of Khmelnitsky city were without electricity.
Ukraine’s Chief of General Staff Valery Zarzhny said Russia launched 20 cruise missiles on Saturday, 12 of which were shot down.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin gave a New Year’s speech from the headquarters of the military district in southern Russia he was visiting on Saturday and presented the awards to servicemen.
Among the winners was General Sergei Slovikin, the Russian commander in Ukraine, according to Russian news outlets.
Footage released by Russian state television showed Putin holding a glass of champagne with soldiers in military uniforms, some of whom had diplomas pinned to their chests.
In his traditional New Year’s Eve speech, broadcast on the channel just before midnight, Putin told Russians that “the moral and historical legitimacy is on our side.”
Putin said the year was marked by “truly important and fateful events” and “a frontier for laying the foundations of our common future, for true independence”.
Referring to the four territories of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed, he said: “Today we are fighting for this and we are deporting our people in the historical territories of the new constituent entity of the Russian Federation. We protect,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a message to military personnel that Russia’s victory in Ukraine was “inevitable”.
The Ministry of Defense also announced the capture of the village of Drozhnyanka in the southern Zaporizhia region. This was claimed to be a rare gain as Russia suffered a series of defeats on Ukrainian soil.
The ministry also said 82 Russian servicemen had been released as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, and Kyiv said 140 had been returned.