Putin says Russia will ‘intensify’ strikes on military targets in Ukraine; Zelenskiy says Moscow is suffering major losses
Russian president Vladimir Putin said that his forces would intensify strikes on military targets in Ukraine, after an unprecedented Ukrainian attack over the weekend on the Russian city of Belgorod. “We’re going to intensify the strikes. No crime against civilians will rest unpunished, that’s for certain,” Putin said during a visit to a military hospital on Monday. “We are doing that today and tomorrow we will continue doing it,” he said.
The death toll following Ukrainian strikes on Belgorod has risen to 25, according to the region’s governor. Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Monday a four-year-old girl died from injuries sustained in the attack. The attack on Saturday came after Moscow launched a large-scale attack on Ukrainian cities on Friday.
Ukraine claims Russia has launched a ‘record number’ of attack drones on New Year’s Day. Ukraine’s air force said 87 out of 90 drones had successfully been shot down.
Russian drones attacked a university and a museum linked to two of the most prominent 20th century defenders of Ukrainian national identity on Monday, leaving locals vowing to repair the damage. The first smashed windows and much of the roof at the National Agrarian University, outside the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where Stepan Bandera – a hero in Ukraine but a villain according to the Kremlin – studied. The second ravaged a nearby museum devoted to Roman Shukhevych.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the Economist that the notion that Russia was winning the nearly two-year-old war was only a “feeling” and that Moscow was still suffering heavy battlefield losses. Zelenskiy, in an interview published on Monday, provided no substantiation of his allegation on Russian losses. He said Ukraine’s priorities in 2024 included hitting Russia’s strengths in Crimea to reduce the number of attacks on his country as well as protecting key cities on the eastern front.
In the interview, Zelenskiy rejected any suggestion that Moscow was interested in peace talks, pointing to Moscow’s repeated waves of aerial strikes. “I see only the steps of a terrorist country,” he said.
Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report