Russia carried out its second major round of missile attacks on Ukraine in three days on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said, with explosions reported throughout the country on New Year’s Eve.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least one person had been killed and 20 wounded after a series of explosions in the capital.
The mayor said one of those injured was a Japanese journalist who had been taken to hospital.
A hotel just south of Kyiv’s city centre was hit and a residential building in another district was damaged, according to the city administration.
“The hotel was not functioning for some time,” said Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kyiv.
“We have no details about whether people were injured in this particular attack – one of 10 explosions heard across Kyiv. The neighbouring streets were damaged.”
The governor of the surrounding Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, had warned shortly beforehand of a possible incoming missile attack and said air defences in the region were engaging targets.
“The terrorist country launched several waves of missiles. They are wishing us a happy New Year. But we will persevere,” Kuleba wrote on Telegram in a separate post after explosions shook the capital.
Other cities across Ukraine also came under fire. In the southern region of Mykolaiv, local governor Vitaliy Kim said on television that six people had been wounded.
In a separate post on Telegram, Kim said Russia had targeted civilians with the attacks, something Moscow has previously denied.
“According to today’s tendencies, the occupiers are striking, not just critical … in many cities [they are targeting] simply residential areas, hotels, garages, roads.”
In the western city of Khmelnytskyi, two people were wounded in a drone attack, Ukrainian presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko said.
The official also reported an attack in the southern industrial powerhouse city of Zaporizhzhia, which Tymoshenko said had damaged residential buildings.
Ukraine’s defence ministry responded with a defiant message posted on Telegram.
“With each new missile attack on civilian infrastructure, more and more Ukrainians are convinced of the need to fight until the complete collapse of Putin’s regime,” it wrote.
Russia fighting to protect ‘motherland’
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said Russia would never give in to the West’s attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy his country.
In a New Year’s video message broadcast on state TV, Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland” and to secure “true independence” for its people.
Earlier, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said his country’s victory in Ukraine was “inevitable” in a New Year’s message to servicemen, as Moscow’s military campaign grinds through its 11th month.
“In the coming year, I want to wish everyone good health, fortitude, reliable and devoted comrades … Our victory, like the New Year, is inevitable,” Shoigu said in the video address released by the defence ministry.
Shoigu said in the outgoing year “we all faced serious trials” and that the New Year comes during a “difficult military-political situation”. Russian troops have suffered a string of setbacks on the ground during the past months, with the Kremlin in September announcing the mobilisation of 300,000 reservists to join the fighting.
Article source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/31/explosions-heard-in-central-kyiv