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Firefighters extinguish a fire next to houses destroyed during a Russian attack on Kyiv. Roman Hrytsyna/AP/PA

Russia's New Year raids on Ukraine kill four and wound dozens

The head of the Kyiv police posted a picture of wreckage of a downed drone that featured the words “Happy New Year” in Russian.

LAST UPDATE | 1 Jan 2023

RUSSIA’S NEW YEAR assaults on Ukraine left four people dead and wounded dozens this weekend as Moscow claimed to have thwarted Kyiv’s “terror attacks” on the homeland.

The Ukrainian capital and other cities came under fire from missiles and Iranian-made drones on Saturday, killing three people.

At least one drone had the Russian words “Happy New Year” scrawled on it in red, according to a picture released by Ukrainian authorities.

A new attack today killed one person in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia and wounded another three, authorities said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, stressed that Russia’s New Year attacks targeted downtown areas of large cities and pointed to a change in Moscow’s tactics.

“Russia no longer has any military goals and is trying to kill as many civilians as possible and destroy more civilian facilities,” he tweeted. “A war to kill.”

In a New Year’s attack in the southern region of Kherson, a 13-year-old boy came under Russian attacks twice, the second time when he was in intensive care, officials said.

The attacks came as President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine enters its 11th month.

Local governors and officials reported one death each in Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region; in the capital Kyiv; in the southern region of Kherson and in the western city of Khmelnytskyi.

In addition, dozens of people were wounded, they said.


On New Year’s Eve, Russian artillery hit the village of Naddniprianske outside the city of Kherson, severely wounding a 13-year-old boy, Yaroslav.

Then the Russian army struck the hospital where the boy was lying in intensive care, smashing the windows in the ward.

“What did the 13-year-old boy do to these inhumans that they tried to kill him twice?” governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said on messaging app Telegram.

The Russian onslaught damaged the Kherson hospital and also left the city and the surrounding settlements without electricity.

Russian forces in November withdrew from Kherson, the only regional capital held by Moscow, but have continued to batter the city.

The Ukrainian air force said 45 Iranian-made drones had been destroyed overnight.

Thirteen were shot down at the end of 2022 and another 32 after midnight.

“Thanks to our air force — pilots, anti-aircraft gunners. Thirty-three ‘Shahed’ (drones) on their tally,” Zelensky said in his nightly address.

“Thanks to the air defence of our ground forces for another 12 downed Iranian drones. Well done, guys!”

Kyiv police chief Andriy Nebitov released a picture of wreckage of a downed drone that featured the words “Happy New Year” in Russian.

In the eastern region of Donetsk, pro-Russian officials said Ukrainian shelling had killed a civilian in the town of Yasynuvata.

After a series of humiliating military defeats, Russia in October began targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure, leaving millions in the cold and dark.

“Moral, historical rightness is on our side,” Putin declared as he delivered his midnight address standing among men and women dressed in military uniform.

But in France, the archbishop of Marseille, Jean-Marc Aveline, used a New Year’s Day address to attack the “frightening cynicism” of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

‘Terror attacks’

Moscow said today its New Year attacks had targeted the country’s drone production.

Russia’s defence ministry said a strike hit sites involved in the production, storage and deployment of drones.

“The plans of the Kyiv regime to carry out terror attacks against Russia in the near future have been thwarted,” the ministry said.

Russia has accused Ukraine of targeting its domestic military sites and infrastructure.

Russian forces on Thursday shot down a drone near Engels, a base for Russia’s strategic aircraft, located hundreds of kilometres from Ukraine’s border.

Russia also said on Monday it had downed a drone over Engels airfield and that falling debris killed three people.

In early December, Moscow said Ukraine’s Soviet-made drones had attacked that base and another in the Ryazan region, killing three people.

Kyiv has a policy of not claiming responsibility for such raids.

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