Russian war of aggression: Most massive Russian air raid on Ukraine

In Ukraine, more than 30 people were killed and more than 150 injured in unprecedented Russian airstrikes across the country just before the New Year.

Russian war of aggression: Most massive Russian air raid on Ukraine

In Ukraine, more than 30 people were killed and more than 150 injured in unprecedented Russian airstrikes across the country just before the New Year. The Ukrainian leadership spoke of massive “terror” against the civilian population.

So far, 31 people have been killed and 152 people have been injured, according to the regional Ukrainian authorities. There were deaths in Dnipro, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Odessa, Lviv (Lemberg) and the capital Kiev. At least nine people were killed in the capital alone.

According to diplomats, the World Security Council wants to meet in New York for an emergency meeting that night.

Strongest air raid since the beginning of the war

The military in Kiev spoke of the "most massive air attack" on Ukraine since the beginning of the war - almost two years. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia fired 158 missiles and combat drones against the country. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeryi Zalushnyj spoke of 122 rockets and cruise missiles as well as 36 drones. Never since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine have there been such strong air strikes on one day as there are now at the end of the year.

The highest officially reported number of Russian missiles fired at Ukraine in one day to date was more than 90. This time, the air defense was able to intercept more than 70 percent of the Russian attacks, said Saluschnyj. The strikes were carried out in several waves from different directions and using strategic bombers.

There were also injuries from shelling in the western Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi and in the small town of Konotop in the Sumy region, which is close to the Russian border. There were power outages in several areas of the country. In the metro in Kiev, many people sought protection from the attacks.

Moscow speaks of attacks on military targets

The Defense Ministry in Moscow only commented on the attack in passing and spoke of a “massaged strike with high-precision weapons and drones.” This was carried out against military targets such as arms factories, military airports and weapons depots. “All targeted objects were hit,” the ministry emphasized.

The air strikes are seen as a targeted attempt by the Russian military leadership to break Ukrainians' resistance to the invasion ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. Many civilians continue to fall victim to Russian attacks. Many residential buildings and civilian buildings were also in flames on Friday. There were images of devastation. In Kiev, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, injured people had to be pulled from the rubble of a building that had been hit.

Zelensky wants to hold Russia accountable

"Today Russia fired with almost everything it has in its arsenal - Kinshal, S-300, cruise missiles, drones. Strategic bombers fired Ch-101/Ch-505 (Russian cruise missiles)," wrote Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky . He spoke of major damage in the civilian sector; a maternity ward, educational institutions, a shopping center and many private residential buildings were hit, he said. Zelenskyj accompanied his statements with a video that, among other things, showed a completely destroyed shopping center.

The 45-year-old spoke of a terrorist act, but at the same time assured that Ukraine would respond to it. Russia will lose its war of aggression; and Ukraine will do everything to ensure its own security. To show his solidarity with the Ukrainian army, the head of state visited the front-line town of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, which is half surrounded by Russian troops, on Friday.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spoke of a "genocide" in view of the many civilian victims and called on the international community to respond. Russia will not stop talk of war weariness and a possible ceasefire, of temporary renunciation of territory (by Ukraine) and of negotiations, the statement said. Moscow's goal is the destruction of Ukraine.

Russian missile in Polish airspace

According to the Polish army, a Russian missile violated the airspace of NATO member Poland during the attack. "Everything indicates that a Russian missile has entered Polish airspace. We tracked it on the radar and left the airspace again," said Chief of General Staff Wieslaw Kukula in Warsaw. According to the information, the rocket was in Polish airspace for about three minutes and flew 40 kilometers. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that the defense alliance stands by its member Poland and remains vigilant.

Sunak: Attacks are meant to eradicate freedom

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the heavy Russian airstrikes and blamed Putin directly. “These widespread attacks on Ukrainian cities show that Putin will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of eradicating freedom and democracy,” wrote Sunak on the online service X (formerly Twitter). "We will not let him win. We must continue to stand with Ukraine - as long as it is necessary."

Kremlin opponent Leonid Volkov, who fled abroad, accused the Russian president of “sadism” and “madness.” “Putin has carried out the most massive terrorist attack on Ukrainian cities,” said the confidant of the imprisoned Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. At the end of the year, this should make the whole world think "how little it did in 2023 to stop one of the most terrible and bloodthirsty lunatics of the 21st century."

Russia began its war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and has repeatedly fired on civilian targets far behind the front. Last winter, energy supply facilities in particular were the target of Russian attacks. Experts warn against a repeat of this tactic this winter. Moscow's goal is to plunge Ukrainians into cold and darkness in order to break the population's will to resist.