Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned the West not to show weakness in front of Russia. If Ukraine loses this war against Russia, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin will bring the war closer to the West. "Putin recognizes weakness like an animal, because he is an animal," Zelensky said in an interview published on New Year's Day in the British magazine The Economist. If he smells blood, Putin will become strong. "And he will also eat everyone for dinner, including your EU, NATO, freedom and democracy."
Zelenskyj currently saw no viable path to peace. He himself sees “no fundamental steps” being taken on the Russian side. Instead, there are only constant air strikes from the Russian side. "I only recognize the steps of a terrorist state." At most, Russia sends supposed peace signals when the arsenals are empty. But after a pause for breath, things continue again “with all force.”
Zelensky did not want to reveal Ukraine's war goals for 2024, as leaks last year revealed preparations for Ukraine's summer offensive and made the Russians' preparations possible. However, work is being done to reduce Russia's military capabilities in Crimea. "This is extremely important for us because it would allow us to reduce the number of attacks from this region," Zelensky said. The majority of drones used to attack Ukrainian cities originate from Crimea.
In order to cut off the peninsula from its supplies, Ukraine needs the German Taurus cruise missiles, Zelensky said. This could mean attacking the Kerch Bridge, for example. "Russia must know that this is a military target for us." So far, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has refused to deliver the Taurus to Kiev.
Kiev's presidential advisor: Russia is long dead
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak sees Russia's threats of further attacks against Ukraine as pure boasting. Because Russia is actually “dead a long time ago”. But the Kremlin is not yet aware of this fact, said the member of Zelensky's advisory staff on New Year's Day in Kiev. "Sometimes when a person dies, he doesn't know it, but he is dead. And that is exactly the case with Russia - it is already dead, but it does not fully understand this yet," Podoljak was quoted as saying by the Unian agency. A few hours earlier, Putin had announced further attacks against Ukraine during a visit to wounded soldiers in a Moscow military clinic.
Podoljak was of the opinion that this war had not only put Russia on the losing side militarily. "Roughly speaking, Russia's prestige is being wiped out, Russia's historical weight is being wiped out, Russia's influence, its participation in international institutions, its economic participation in the modern world is being wiped out," Podolyak said.
Heavy Russian missile attack on Kyiv
The Ukrainian capital Kiev was the target of a heavy Russian missile attack on Tuesday morning. The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia used several Kinschal hypersonic missiles. According to reports from residents, loud explosions could be heard in the city of over a million inhabitants. There are power outages in several parts of the city, wrote Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Telegram. Civil infrastructure facilities were hit; a gas pipe was damaged. Problems with the water supply were also reported. Thirteen people were injured in a high-rise building when a rocket caused a fire, wrote Klitschko.
Air strikes were also reported from other parts of the country. According to initial authorities, one person was killed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv; more than 20 people were injured. Russia has increased its bombing of the neighboring country in recent nights.
Fighting in eastern Ukraine
Heavy fighting was reported from the various sectors of the front on New Year's Day. The Ukrainian General Staff in Kiev announced in the evening that 38 attacks by Russian troops had been repelled in the east of the country alone. The Ukrainian rocket artillery managed to hit several Russian infantry staging areas and artillery positions. The information could not be independently verified.
Norway sells weapons and armor directly to Kiev
By government decision, Norway will now sell weapons and military equipment directly to Ukraine. The government in Oslo announced this on its website on Monday. Norwegian companies could now apply for corresponding export permits. "Supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression is important for the security of Norway and Europe," said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, explaining Oslo's decision.
This will be important today
Heavy fighting is expected again in eastern Ukraine. Kiev is also preparing for further attacks by the Russian military with combat drones and missiles against Ukrainian cities.