Day 312 of the Invasion of Ukraine: With Drones marked "Happy New Year", Russia Attacked Kyiv on New Year's Day

World » UKRAINE | January 1, 2023, Sunday // 14:14
Bulgaria: Day 312 of the Invasion of Ukraine: With Drones marked "Happy New Year", Russia Attacked Kyiv on New Year's Day

Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

With drones marked "Happy New Year", Russia attacked Kyiv on New Year's Day

Russia continued its intense attacks on Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine in the early hours of the New Year, following a barrage of rockets fired on Saturday. Air raid sirens wailed for hours on the night of January 1, Reuters reports.

Ukraine's Air Force Command said it had destroyed 45 Iranian Shahed 32 drones after midnight on Sunday and another 13 late on Saturday.

As sirens wailed for more than four hours in Kyiv, some people shouted from their balconies "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!", Reuters reported, citing witnesses.

A 7 p.m. to midnight curfew remained in place across the country, making celebrations for the start of 2023 impossible in public places.

Fragments of destroyed rockets caused minimal damage in the center of the capital, and preliminary reports indicated no injuries or casualties, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on social media.

Andriy Nebitov, Kyiv's police chief, posted a photo on his Telegram messaging app of what he said was part of a drone used in the attack on the capital, with a handwritten inscription in Russian saying "Happy New Year".

"These remains are not at the front where fierce battles are taking place, they are here at a sports ground where children are playing," said Nebitov.

Ukraine's high command said on Sunday that Russia had carried out 31 missile and 12 airstrikes across the country in the past 24 hours.

US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink wrote on Twitter: "Russia coldly and cowardly attacked Ukraine in the early hours of the new year. But Putin still does not seem to understand that Ukrainians are made of iron."

The latest attacks damaged infrastructure in Sumy, in the northeast of the country, in Khmelnytskyi in the west, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the southeast and south, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.

Russian media also reported multiple Ukrainian attacks on Moscow-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, with local authorities reporting at least 9 injuries. ,

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia's southern Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said overnight shelling on the outskirts of the town of Shebekino damaged houses but caused no casualties.

Russian media also reported multiple Ukrainian attacks on Moscow-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, with local authorities reporting at least 9 injuries. ,

The reports have not been confirmed independently or by Ukrainian sources, Reuters said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled in his New Year's address that the war, now in its 11th month, would continue, a speech that contrasted with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's messages of gratitude and unity.

"No miracle": Zelensky promised an end to the war in 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his New Year's address that he expects Ukraine to win the war with Russia in 2023. According to him, the victory will not be achieved by a miracle, but through work and "humanity".

"Today there is only one wish. And it will come true not through a miracle, but through our work, our struggle, mutual aid and humanity," said Zelensky, dressed in his traditional green clothing from the beginning of the war.

"Happy New Year! The year of our victory," declared the Ukrainian president against the backdrop of dark Kyiv.

The address was made outdoors, with Zelensky surrounded by total darkness in Kyiv, where thousands of people are without power due to the destruction of civilian infrastructure caused by Russian airstrikes over the past two months. There was also a Russian air attack on December 31. One person died and several were injured.

According to Ukrainian sources, there were new missile strikes on Kyiv hours after the New Year on Sunday. So far no casualties have been reported.

Zelensky mentioned the repeated Russian strikes that are disrupting Ukraine's electricity generation system.

"You want light? It is in each of us, even if there is no electricity," encouraged the Ukrainian head of state.

In his New Year's address, the president thanked the Ukrainian people for their "incredible" efforts to repel the Russian invasion.

"We are fighting as one team - the whole country, all our regions. I admire all of you. I want to thank every invincible region of Ukraine," he said.

Before the New Year's address, Zelensky published another speech on his Telegram channel, in which, switching between Russian and Ukrainian, he also addressed the Russians, the BBC reports.

Speaking after Vladimir Putin delivered a New Year's address surrounded by men in military uniform, Zelensky said the Russian president was hiding behind his troops, not leading them.

Zelensky attacked Putin, saying "Your leader wants to show you that he is leading and his army is behind him, but in fact he is hiding. He is hiding behind his army, his missiles, the walls of his residences and palaces.

He is hiding behind you and burning your country and your future. No one will forgive you for terror. No one in the world will forgive you for this. Ukraine will not forgive," said Zelensky, quoted by the BBC.

The West is using Ukraine to destroy Russia”, said Putin in his New Year address

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that his country will never give in to Western attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia, Reuters reported.

In a New Year's video address broadcast on Russian state television, Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to defend its "motherland" and ensure "true independence" for its people.

The New Year's address was recorded at the headquarters of the Southern Military District. For the first time, Putin addressed the citizens of Russia on New Year's Day, surrounded only by soldiers in combat uniforms.

In a nine-minute message - his longest New Year's address since he ruled for 22 years - Putin accused the West of lying to Russia and of provoking Moscow to launch what it called a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"For years, Western elites hypocritically assured us of their peaceful intentions," he said in a videotaped speech to Russian military personnel at the headquarters of Russia's Southern Military District.

"In fact, in every possible way, they encouraged the neo-Nazis who carried out open terrorism against civilians in Donbas," Putin said in an unusually bellicose New Year's speech, usually devoted to wishes for the coming year.

Earlier on Saturday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu promised victory in Ukraine was "inevitable", praising the heroism of Russian soldiers fighting on the front lines and those who died during the 10-month war.

"The West lied about peace," Putin said. "He was preparing for aggression ... and now they are cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and split Russia."

"We have never allowed this and we will never allow anyone to do this to us," Russian state news agencies quoted Putin as saying in the clip, broadcast at midnight in Russia's Far East.

"2022 is coming to an end. It was a year of difficult and necessary decisions, of important steps towards ensuring the full sovereignty of Russia and the powerful consolidation of our society," Putin said, quoted by TASS and BTA.

According to him, "this was the year that put many things in their place, clearly distinguished courage and heroism from treachery and cowardice and showed that there is no greater power than love for near and dear ones, than loyalty to friends and comrades in arms and from devotion to the Fatherland".

"Together we will overcome all difficulties and preserve the greatness and independence of our country," he emphasized, adding: "We will triumph, for our families and for Russia.”

The Russian army increased in size to over 2 million men

The Russian army now numbers over two million people. President Vladimir Putin's August decree to increase the armed forces by 137,000 people came into force today. Thus, the total number of employees in the army is 2,040,000. Of these, 1,150,000 are military personnel. According to the previous decree, they were 1,130,000, notes TASS.

The number of military personnel increased by 20,000 to 1,150,628.

In November, the necessary funds were provided in the budget of the federation.

The agency recalls the words of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that the decision was dictated by the course of Western countries led by the United States to contain the Russian Federation and its allies, by supporting Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, and also by the approach of NATO to the Russian borders.

Greetings from the Air Force of Ukraine: Santa Claus fires at Russian positions from aboard a Ukrainian fighter jet

The military aviation of Ukraine presented itself with an atypical New Year's greeting on the first day of 2023. A VSU military pilot disguised as Santa Claus (Ded Moroz) recorded a clip, set to the tune of "Jingle Bells", in which he is seen flying a combat flight and strafing Russian positions.

"Happy new victorious year 2023! One wish for everyone - Victory! Our pilots have already ‘greeted’ the invaders!" – is said in the music video greeting of the Air Force Command "West".

Earlier in the night, the Russian army sent Iranian Shahed drones with "Happy New Year" written on their tails against civilian targets in Ukraine.

Zelensky denied Netanyahu Ukraine's support for Israel at the UN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested in a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky late on Friday evening that Ukraine vote against a UN General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to issue a legal opinion on the consequences of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, the US reported. Axios publication citing Ukrainian and Israeli government officials. Zelensky refused Netanyahu the requested support, the portal writes.

The Committee on Special Political and Decolonization Affairs of the United Nations approved on November 11 the initiative raised by the Palestinian side to turn to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for a legal opinion on the issue of the continued occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River. The initiative was supported by 98 countries, 17 countries were against, and 52 abstained. On December 30, the UN General Assembly voted to refer the Palestinian issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague with 87 votes. 26 countries, including Israel and the US, were opposed, another 53 abstained. Palestine requests an opinion on the legal consequences of Israel's "occupation, settlement and annexation (...) including measures aimed at changing the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem."

In the UN Committee, Ukraine supported the resolution but did not attend the vote in the General Assembly on Friday, as a Ukrainian official claimed, "to give relations with Netanyahu a chance."

Kyiv resisted Israeli demands to vote against the resolution during a UN committee vote several weeks ago because of Israel's refusal to provide military aid to Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said.

Then Israeli foreign ministry officials were furious and summoned the Ukrainian ambassador for a tough talk. On Friday, Netanyahu, who was sworn in as prime minister a day earlier, called Zelensky as part of a series of phone calls with leaders of some countries that had previously voted in favor of the resolution. Israel wanted them to change their votes and oppose the resolution, or at least abstain, a senior Israeli official told Axios.

During the conversation with Netanyahu, Zelensky said that in exchange for a "no" or "abstention" vote, he wanted to hear how the new Israeli government would change its policy and provide Ukraine with defense systems against Russian ballistic missile attacks and Iranian drones, a Ukrainian official told Axios. Netanyahu did not make any commitments, but said he was ready to discuss Zelensky's demands in the future.

According to the Ukrainian source, Zelensky did not like the response of the new Israeli prime minister and did not agree to Kyiv voting against the resolution or abstaining. Instead, he instructed Ukraine's permanent representative to the UN not to attend the vote. The publication summarized that both leaders were not satisfied with the phone call and did not get what they asked for. "Zelensky decided that we will not attend the vote in order to give a chance to relations with Netanyahu," commented the source from the Ukrainian side.

A senior Israeli official said that although Ukraine did not vote in favor of the resolution, Israel was disappointed that instead of abstaining, Kyiv decided not to attend the vote.

Netanyahu's office commented on the conversation succinctly: "Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with President Zelensky and Ukraine, which previously voted in support of the anti-Israel resolution, did not attend the vote this time. Beyond that, we will not comment on diplomatic talks."

Zelensky tweeted on Saturday that in the phone conversation between the two leaders, he congratulated Netanyahu on taking office as prime minister. "We discussed bilateral cooperation between our countries, including in the field of security and interaction on international platforms. We also affected the implementation of the Ukrainian peace formula," is said the statement of the President of Ukraine.

Da Silva met with representatives of Russia and Ukraine, called for an end to the war

Newly elected Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with high-ranking representatives of Russia and Ukraine and called for an end to the war.

He will be sworn in later today, but his predecessor Jair Balsonaro will not be present at the ceremony.

The triumphant return to office of the Brazilian president announced on Twitter that he had spoken separately with Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, and with Yulia Sviridenko, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recently discussed Brazil-Russia relations with Vladimir Putin.

His efforts have been interpreted as a message that "Brazil is back" on the world stage after Jair Bolsonaro, criticized for his domestic policies during a pandemic-marred mandate and his refusal to accept his election loss. Bolsonaro's refusal to attend Lula's swearing-in today is considered a violation of democratic traditions. Instead, he went to the United States. He bid a tearful farewell to his supporters, declaring that he had "lost a battle but not the war". His rival Lula made a historic comeback after a corruption scandal and prison and starts a new term today.

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