Russia’s New Year assaults on Ukraine left four people dead and wounded dozens this weekend as Moscow on Sunday 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 on Sunday 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 sourthern 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.
Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, said on Sunday that “‘New Year’s greetings’ from Russians arrived” in the town of Orikhiv at noon.
As a result, one person was killed, and three others were injured.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Zelensky’s office, said two people died in Kyiv and the southern region of Kherson and another 50 were injured on Saturday.
A 22-year-old woman was badly wounded in the western city of Khmelnytskyi and later died from her wounds, Governor Serhiy Gamaliy 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.
“The boy was taken to a hospital in a serious condition where doctors literally brought him back from the dead,” wrote Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych.
Then the Russian army struck the hospital where the boy was lying in intensive care, smashing the windows in the ward.
“The boy was evacuated to Mykolaiv where doctors are continuing to fight for his life,” Yanushevych said on messaging app Telegram.
“What did the 13-year-old boy do to these inhumans that they tried to kill him twice?”
The Russian pounding 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 that was 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.
Kyiv police chief Andriy Nebitov released a picture of wreckage of a downed drone that featured the words “Happy New Year” in Russian.
“That is everything you need to know about the terror state and its army,” he said.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, pro-Russian separatist authorities said Ukrainian shelling 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.
Moscow said on Sunday its New Year attacks targeted the pro-Western country’s drone production.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said a strike hit “the facilities of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine” that are involved in the production of drones.
“Storage facilities and launch sites” for the drones have also been destroyed, the ministry said.
“The plans of the Kyiv regime to carry out terror attacks against Russia in the near future have been thwarted.”
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 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, leaving three people dead.
Kyiv has a policy of not claiming responsibility for such raids.