Last updated on October 11th, 2023 at 04:32 pm
Officials said a wave of Russian missiles hit cities across Ukraine on new year’s eve.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said there had been several explosions in the capital, killing at least one person. A hotel was also damaged.
The attacks come two days after Russia carried out one of its largest air strikes since the start of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russia could launch more attacks to incite Ukrainians to “celebrate the new year’s eve and new year in the dark”.
Russia has targeted Ukraine’s energy sector in recent months, destroying power plants and leaving millions of people in the dark during the country’s cold winters.
Several senior Ukrainian officials alluded to the strikes in social media posts, saying Russia would not succeed in spoiling their celebrations for the new year.
“The occupiers decided to try to ruin our day,” Mykolaiv Governor Vitaly Kim said on Facebook.
The head of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhny, said air defenses shot down 12 of 20 Russian cruise missiles.
In Kyiv, people flocked to shelters as air raid sirens sounded. Rescuers have been sent to several nearby areas affected by the blast.
Klitschko said about 20 people were injured in Kyiv, including a Japanese journalist.
The president’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Telegram that a hotel was damaged.
Air defenses have been activated in parts of the country.
Tymoshenko added that in the western city of Khmelnytskyi, a drone strike injured two people.
The attacks come as Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to rally supporters of Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, saying the country’s future is at stake.
In a New Year’s address surrounded by people in military uniforms, Mr Putin said:
“We have always known, and today once again assured us that a future of sovereignty, independence and Russia’s safety depends only on us, on our strength and our will.”
He presented the invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign territory as “the defense of our people and our historic land”.
But President Zelensky responded with his own message to the Russians in Russian.
“Your leader wants to show you that he is leading and his army is behind,” he said.
“But in reality, he’s hiding… He hides behind you, and he burns your country and your future. No one will forgive you for the terror.”
The Ukrainian government has begged Western leaders for more air defense systems, and US President Joe Biden recently agreed to supply his Patriot system.
The Kremlin rejected Ukraine’s proposal that peace talks could begin in 2023.