Defiant Ukrainians Celebrate New Year as Drones Are Shot Down

Share your love

Ukrainians cheered from their balconies as their air defenses attacked Russian missiles and drones from the sky in the early hours of 2023, which saw Moscow attack civilian targets across Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Air Force command said it destroyed 45 Iranian-made Shahed drones, 32 of them on Sunday after midnight and 13 on Saturday night. That was in addition to 31 missile strikes and 12 airstrikes across the country in the past 24 hours.

Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no sign of relenting in his assault on Ukraine, in a somber and defiant New Year’s speech that contrasted with a hopeful message of gratitude and unity from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

As sirens sounded in Kiev, some people shouted from their balconies: “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”

Fragments of the overnight attack caused minimal damage in the center of the capital and preliminary reports indicated there were no injuries or casualties, Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on social media. Saturday’s attacks had hit residential buildings and a hotel in the capital, killing at least one person and wounding more than 20.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said on Twitter: “Russia coldly and cowardly attacked Ukraine in the early hours of the new year. But Putin still doesn’t seem to understand that Ukrainians are made of iron.”

On the front line in Ukraine’s eastern province of Donetsk, soldiers toasted the new year. Private Pavlo Pryzhehodskiy, 27, played a song with the guitar he had written at the front after 12 of his comrades died in a single night.

Read Also   The rate of application of coronavirus vaccines in people over 60 has decreased: there are still 2.8 million second doses

“It’s sad that instead of meeting friends, celebrating and giving gifts to each other, people were forced to seek shelter, some were killed,” he told Reuters. “It’s a great tragedy. It is a great tragedy that can never be forgiven. That’s why the New Year is sad.”

In a nearby trench on the front line, Private Oleh Zahrodskiy, 49, said he had signed up as a volunteer after his son was called to fight as a reservist. His son was now in a hospital in the southern city of Dnieper, fighting for his life with a brain injury, while his father managed the front.

“It’s very difficult now,” she said, holding back tears.


Andrii Nebytov, Kiev’s police chief, posted a photo on his messaging app Telegram, showing what was described as a drone used in an attack on the capital, with a handwritten in Russian that read “Happy New Year.”

“These remnants are not at the front, where fierce battles take place, they are here, on a sports field, where children play,” Nebytov said.

Russia has razed Ukrainian cities and killed thousands of civilians since Putin ordered their invasion in February, claiming Ukraine was an artificial state whose pro-Western outlook threatened Russia’s security. Since then, Moscow has claimed to have annexed about a fifth of Ukraine.

Ukraine has defended itself with Western military support, expelling the Russian army from more than half of the territory it occupied. In recent weeks, the front lines have been largely static, with thousands of soldiers dying in intense trench warfare as Moscow defends its control over captured territory.

Read Also   Angela Merkel's first day of work as “retired”: at 8:20 she was already in her office

Since October, Russia has launched massive missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving cities in darkness and cold as winter approaches. Moscow says the strikes are aimed at reducing Ukraine’s combat capability; Kiev says they have no military purpose and are meant to injure civilians, a war crime.

“The main thing is the fate of Russia,” Putin said with a stern face in his New Year’s Eve speech, speaking in front of a group of people dressed in military uniform instead of the usual backdrop of the Kremlin walls. “The defense of the homeland is our sacred duty to our ancestors and descendants. Moral, historical righteousness is on our side.”

Zelenskiy delivered his own speech almost in the dark, in front of a flying Ukrainian flag. He described last year as a national awakening.

“They told us: you have no choice but to surrender. We say: we have no choice but to win,” he said. “This year has struck our hearts. We have cried all the tears. We have shouted all the prayers,” Zelensky said. “We fight and we will continue to fight. For the sake of the key word: ‘victory.'”

The latest airstrikes damaged infrastructure in Sumy in the country’s northeast, Khmelnytsky in the west and Zaporizhia and Kherson in the southeast and south, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.

“Let the day be quiet,” Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said early Sunday after reporting heavy shelling of several communities in the region overnight that wounded one person.

Read Also   The photos of the day: floods in Thailand, protests against agricultural laws in India, and the economic crisis in Yemen - TN - All News

Network operator Ukrenergo said on Sunday that the previous day had been “difficult” for its workers, but that the electricity situation was “under control” and no emergency cuts were being implemented.

Separately, Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia’s southern Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, said overnight shelling on the outskirts of the city of Shebekino damaged homes but had no casualties.

Russian media also reported multiple Ukrainian attacks in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by Moscow, with local officials saying at least nine people were wounded.

Russia’s state-run RIA news agency quoted a local doctor as saying six people were killed when a hospital in Donetsk was attacked on Saturday. Representation authorities in Donetsk also said one person had been killed by Ukrainian shelling.

Reuters was unable to verify the reports. There was no immediate response from Kiev, which almost never publicly claims any attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territories in Ukraine.

Share your love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *