Russia plans protracted drone campaign to exhaust Ukraine, Zelensky says

Russia is planning a long campaign of attacks with Iranian drones to exhaust Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday, adding that the country had to “do everything” to resist. Earlier on Monday, Ukraine’s military took responsibility for a deadly attack on temporary accommodation for Russian soldiers in the city of Makiivka in eastern Ukraine. Read our live blog to see how all the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

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12:30am: Eastern Ukraine ice arena destroyed in Russian attack, hockey club says

A Russian missile attack in eastern Ukraine destroyed an ice rink in the town of Druzhkivka in the Donetsk region, Ukraine’s Donbas ice hockey club said in a statement on its website.

“As a result of rocket fire, the Altair ice arena was destroyed,” the statement said, following earlier reports of a missile hitting the town and injuring two people. The statement added that the venue had hosted Ukrainian championships, international competitions, and cultural and mass events.

10:15pm: Ukraine’s strike on Russian soldiers among ‘largest losses of life in the war so far’

Ukraine reported its military killed nearly 400 Russian servicemen in a strike on a building in the city of Makiivka, in the east of the country on New Year’s Eve, while Russia puts the figure at 63. “Russia has been known to downplay its losses in the war,” says FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago reporting from Kyiv. “Either way the numbers would make it one of the single largest losses of life in the war so far.”

The attack was reportedly carried out with High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets, illustrating “the devastating effectiveness” with which Ukraine is using Western-supplied weapons, Shrago said.


9:11pm: Russia is planning a prolonged drone attack to exhaust Ukraine, Zelensky says

Russia is planning a protracted campaign of attacks with Iranian drones to “exhaust” Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday.

“We have information that Russia is planning a protracted attack using Shahed drones,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “It is probably banking on exhaustion. Exhausting our people, our anti-aircraft defenses, our energy.”

Ukraine, he said, had to “act and do everything so that the terrorists’ fail in their aim, as all their others have failed”.

8:14pm: Thief who attempted to steal Banksy mural in Ukraine faces years in jail, Kyiv says

The suspected thief behind the removal of a Banksy mural in a Ukrainian town could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty, Ukraine’s interior ministry said on Monday.

The artwork, depicting a woman in a gas mask and a dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher, was taken off a wall in the town of Hostomel on December 2, according to officials.

The artwork by the renowned British artist was valued at over 9 million hryvnias ($243,900), the ministry statement said.

The mural was retrieved.

The anonymous artist is selling off a series of rare screen prints to raise money for Ukrainian civilians, specifically for generators, gas heaters and solar lights for shelters in Kyiv. Murals by Banksy appeared in the war-torn country overnight, with the famous artist confirming that he had visited Ukraine with a charity.

7:58pm: Zelensky says expecting first tranche of 2023 EU macrofinancial aid in Genoary

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was waiting for 2023’s first tranche of European Union macrofinancial aid in January after speaking to European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

Writing on Twitter, Zelensky thanked von der Leyen for her support and said the two leaders coordinated steps on a Ukraine-EU summit.

5:25pm: Ukraine takes responsibility for deadly strike on Russian troops in Makiivka

Ukraine on Monday took responsibility for a deadly strike on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, after Moscow said it had lost 63 troops in the town of Makiivka.

“On December 31, up to 10 units of enemy military equipment of various types were destroyed and damaged” in the town of Makiivka in the eastern region of Donetsk, the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement. It said the human “losses” were still being established.

2:20pm: Ukrainian strike kills 63 Russian troops, Moscow says

A Ukrainian strike on a complex in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Makiivka killed 63 Russian troops, the Russian defense ministry announced on Monday.

“As a result of a strike by four missiles with a high-explosive warhead on a temporary deployment point, 63 Russian servicemen were killed,” the defense ministry said in a statement. Without claiming the strike, Ukraine’s military said nearly 400 Russian troops were killed in Makiivka in the Moscow-controlled part of the eastern region of Donetsk.

12:51pm: Reports emerging of deadly Ukrainian strike on building in Russian-occupied city of Makiivka

Reports are emerging of a deadly Ukrainian strike on a building that may have been housing Russian soldiers in the city of Makiivka, in a Russian-occupied part of eastern Ukraine. FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago explains.


11:57am: Dozens of drones ‘headed for Kyiv’ in earlier overnight attacks, Kyiv mayor says

Russia deployed multiple drones in an overnight attack on Ukraine, officials said Monday, as the Kremlin signaled no letup in its strategy of targeting civilian infrastructure and trying to wear down Ukrainian resistance.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Monday that 40 drones “headed for Kyiv” overnight. All of them were destroyed, according to air defense forces.

Klitschko said 22 drones were destroyed over Kyiv, three in the Kyiv region and 15 over neighboring provinces.

5:39am: Overnight strikes on Kyiv cause power and heating outages, the mayor says

As a result of overnight strikes on Kyiv, energy infrastructure facilities were damaged, causing power and heating outages, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Monday.

4:12am: Ukrainian drone attack damages power facility in Russia’s Bryansk region, governor says

A Ukrainian drone attack damaged a power supply facility in Russia’s Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, the regional governor said on Monday, adding that there were no casualties.

“A Ukrainian drone attack was carried out this morning on the Klimovsky district,” Governor Alexander Bogomaz said on Telegram.

“All emergency services are on site. As a result of the strike, the power supply facility was damaged, and there is no electricity”.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.

The Klimovsky district of the Bryansk region borders northeastern Ukraine.

2:14am: Russian drone attacks target critical infrastructure in and around Kyiv, local governor says

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s critical infrastructure in a series of drone attacks early Monday on Kyiv and the region surrounding it, officials said.

Russia kept pounding Kyiv for the second night in a row, after firing a barrage of missiles over the capital late on New Year’s Eve and earlier in the day.

“It is loud in the region and in the capital: night drone attacks,” Kyiv Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on the Telegram messaging app. “Russians launched several waves of (Iranian-made) Shahed drones. Targeting critical infrastructure facilities. Air defense is at work”.

By 3am local time (0100 GMT), Ukraine’s air defense systems destroyed 16 air objects above Kyiv, the city’s military administration said. Air raid sirens had been wailing by that time for more than three hours.

2:14am: One person injured from drone debris in Kyiv’s Desnianskiy district

One person was wounded early on Monday from debris from a destroyed drone that hit the capital’s northeastern Desnianskiy district, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

A 19-year-old man was taken to a hospital in the district, Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app, after drone debris hit a road there and damaged a building.

12:24am: Ukraine shells Donetsk’s Makiivka, hitting military quarters

Ukrainian forces shelled on New Year’s Eve the city of Makiivka and other places in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region, Russian officials said, with reports saying that a military quarter was hit.

The Moscow-installed administration of the Donetsk region in Ukraine said on Sunday that at least 25 rockets were fired at the region overnight on New Year’s Eve.

Russia’s TASS state news agency cited local Moscow-based officials as saying that at least 15 people were injured in Makiivka, a major coal producing center, in a series of shelling with High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets.

Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-backed official in the Moscow-controlled parts of Donetsk, said that there was a strike on a vocational school, which according to preliminary information served as military personnel quarters.

“A massive blow was dealt to the vocational school from American MLRS HIMARS. There were dead and wounded, the exact number is still unknown,” Bezsonov said on the Telegram messaging app. “The building itself was badly damaged.”

12:08am: Kyiv’s mayor says blasts hit Desnianskiy district, emergency services at site

An explosion took place in Kyiv’s Desnianskiy district, the capital’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said early on Monday, adding that emergency services were at the site. “An explosion in the Desnianskiy district of Kyiv. All services are on site. Details later,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app.

Drone debris hit a road in the northeast Kyiv district, damaging a building next to it, said Ukrainian presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

“Information about (potential) casualties is being clarified,” Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

11:00pm, January 1: Kyiv regional governor warns of drone attacks, air raid sirens sound in eastern Ukraine

The Kyiv region was under threat of drone attacks late on Sunday, its governor said, as air raid sirens sounded across the capital and eastern Ukraine.

“Air raid alert has been announced in the region,” Oleksiy Kuleba, the governor, said on the Telegram messaging app. “There is a threat of a Shahed (Iranian-made drone) attack”. The emergency services said air raid alerts were announced for the city of Kyiv, which does not administratively belong to the Kyiv region, and for the eastern part of Ukraine.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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