President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to retaliate strongly against Russian forces in 2024, just hours before Ukraine experienced attacks on the first day of the year.
Both Russia and Ukraine have witnessed an increase in strikes in recent days, including an unprecedented assault on the Russian city of Belgorod that resulted in 24 fatalities on Saturday.
This attack followed Moscow’s launch of a barrage of missiles and drones at Ukrainian cities, resulting in 39 casualties in one of the largest aerial assaults since the conflict began.
January 1 is observed as a day of mourning in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, where city officials reported 19 fatalities.
Shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day, the Russian-installed head of the occupied Donetsk region announced that four people had been killed and 13 wounded in “massive shelling” from rockets on its main city.
In Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, Governor Oleg Kiper confirmed one fatality in a Russian drone attack, with three others wounded.
In the western Lviv region of Ukraine, air defense systems successfully intercepted Russian drones in the early hours of Monday, according to Governor Maksym Kozytskyi.
Zelensky’s televised New Year’s address included footage of Ukrainian artillery and fighter jets.
In his address, Zelensky stated, “Next year, the enemy will feel the wrath of domestic production.” He also announced that Ukraine would have at least “a million” additional drones in its arsenal next year, along with F-16 fighter jets delivered by Western partners.
“Our pilots are already mastering F-16 jets, and we will definitely see them in our skies,” he added.
Despite receiving billions of dollars worth of Western weapons, Ukraine faced challenges in making significant progress in its 2023 counteroffensive against invading Russian forces.
Meanwhile, Moscow increased pressure along the frontlines, capturing the eastern town of Marinka in December and seeking control of Kupiansk in the northeast.
Ukraine is urging Western allies to maintain military support.
Britain has announced its decision to dispatch hundreds more air-defense missiles to Kyiv, following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s declaration: “We must continue to stand with Ukraine—for as long as it takes.”
In his traditional New Year’s Eve address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, did not mention Ukraine but praised Russia’s soldiers on the front line and urged unity in the face of “difficult tasks.”
Addressing those on duty and at the forefront of the fight for truth and justice, Putin stated, “You are our heroes. Our hearts are with you. We are proud of you, and we admire your courage.”