Russia launches rockets on New Year’s Day: Ukrainian officials
Kyiv residents celebrating the New Year were interrupted by air raid sirens and a hail of missiles, in what Ukrainian officials call targeted attacks on civilians.
Dozens of people were injured on New Year’s Eve and into the early hours of 2023 as rockets struck the capital and across the country, following a widespread Russian attack on Ukraine’s electricity and water infrastructure the last week. Attacks on infrastructure have worsened dire conditions for Ukrainians amid freezing temperatures.
“This time Russia’s massive missile attack is deliberately targeting residential areas, not even our energy infrastructure,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. said Saturday.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said two schools were damaged in the latest attacks, including a kindergarten.
In Kherson, at least one person was killed on Saturday night in a bombardment that also blew out the windows of a children’s hospital, the president’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said. A woman also died in a rocket attack in the eastern town of Khmelnytskyi, the town’s mayor said.
Instead of fireworks, some Ukrainians said they saw sparks lighting up the sky as Ukrainian forces defended against Russian attacks.
“Of course it was difficult to fully celebrate because we understand that our soldiers cannot be with their families,” said Kyiv resident Evheniya Shulzhenko.
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►While Russia’s bombing has left many Ukrainians without heat or electricity due to damage or power outages controlled to preserve power supply, Ukraine’s utility company Ukrenergo said on Sunday that it won’t there would be no restrictions on electricity for holidays and that businesses and industry would cut back to meet household needs.
►Russia launched 20 cruise missiles over Ukraine on Saturday afternoon, including 12 shot down by Ukrainian forces, according to Ukrainian military chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
►At least two people were killed near the northeastern city of Kharkiv and at least seven were injured across the country on Thursday in an assault on Ukrainian electricity and water infrastructure, according to reports preliminary reports.
Zelenskyy gives New Year’s Eve speech, says Ukraine will not forgive
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed never to forgive Russia for its assault in a speech on Saturday, shortly after launching a missile barrage on Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “hiding behind the army, behind missiles, behind the walls of his residences and palaces”.
“No one in the world will forgive you for this. Ukraine will not forgive this,” Zelenskyy said, addressing the Russians in their own language.
In his New Year’s Eve speech, Zelenskyy recapped what he called “the year of Ukraine”, which he said began on February 24, 2022, with the sounds of the first explosions during the Russian invasion.
He said his wish for Ukrainians in 2023 was victory and a “year of return” – to their homes for those who fled and to normalcy for the country.
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“Let’s not lose hope”: Pope Francis calls for peace
Pope Francis, who has repeatedly decried the war in Ukraine and its devastation, recalled those who are victims of war as he presided over a New Year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, a day after the death of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
“At the start of this year, we need hope, just as the Earth needs rain,” Francis said in his homily.
Addressing the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, the pope cited the “intolerable” war in Ukraine, which began more than 10 months ago, and conflicts elsewhere in the world.
Yet, Francis said, “let us not lose hope” that peace will prevail.
“All over the world, among all peoples, a cry is raised: ‘No to war, no to rearmament’, but (that) the resources go to development, to health, to food, to education, work.”
Contributor: The Associated Press