A couple take a selfie in front of the St Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 31, 2023 (Reuters)

Jump to Original Entry

Sunday’s Coverage: Russian Strikes on Kharkiv and Kyiv; Moscow Claims 21 Killed in Russia’s Belgorod

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The death toll in Kyiv from Friday’s Russian missile strikes has risen to 28 with the discovery of five more bodies under rubble.

At least 44 people were slain across the country and more than 160 injured.

“Sincere condolences to all those who lost relatives and loved ones … terrorists who kill civilians will never be forgiven for the blood spilled on Ukrainian soil,” Kyiv’s military governor Serhiy Popko wrote on Telegram.


Russia launched its largest drone attack of its 22-month invasion on New Year’s Eve, according to the Ukraine Air Force.

It said 87 of 90 Iran-made Shahed attack drones were shot down.

A 15-year-old boy was killed and seven people injured in Odesa in southern Ukraine by falling drone debris.

In western Ukraine, the Russians heavily damaged a museum in Lviv dedicated to Roman Shukhevych, a military commander who fought for Ukrainian independence during World War II, and university buildings in the town of Dubliany.


Russian drone attacks killed one person and injured several on New Year’s Eve in Odesa in southern Ukraine.

Wreckage from intercepted drones hit buildings throughout the port city, causing fires in several residential areas.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: In his New Year’s message, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has assured that “Ukrainians have become stronger” as they have resisted Russia’s 22-month invasion.

In a 20-minute video, including clips of Ukraine’s cities under attack and the President’s meetings with leaders of international allies, Zelenskiy said:

The major result of the year, its main achievement: Ukraine has become stronger. Ukrainians have become stronger.

When, at the beginning of 2023 … we surmounted, without exaggeration, the most difficult winter in history. When we proved that Ukrainians are tougher than cold and darkness. Stronger than power outages and blackout threats.

Ukrainians are stronger than any blockades and vetoes, disbelief or skepticism.

Zelenskiy noted Ukraine’s breaking of Russia’s hold on the Black Sea, with the blockade of Ukrainian ports, as Kyiv’s missile strikes put Moscow’s “large landing ships, missile-armed and patrol corvettes on the bottom of the sea”.

Ukraine has recurrently hit bases, warships, bridges, and oil and ammunition depots in Russian-occupied Crimea and inside Russia. Last Tuesday, the Novocherkassk was destroyed in port in Feodosia in Crimea — the third large landing ship lost by the Russians in three months.

As a result, Russia has withdrawn much of its Black Sea Fleet from Crimea. Ukraine and international partners have been able to establish a corridor in the western Black Sea, resuming shipments of grain, foodstuffs, and other essential goods from three ports.

Zelenskiy also noted that Ukraine will “definitely see” US-made F-16 fighter jets in the skies this year, with the first groups of Ukrainian pilots completing their training abroad. He reiterated that Ukraine will boost weapons output, including joint plants with its foreign backers, and produce at least one million drones in the next year: “Next year, the enemy will feel the wrath of domestic production.”

Implicitly referring both to the Kremlin’s political warfare and to actors from US Republicans to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán blocking assistance, the President said, “Ukrainians are stronger than any intrigues, any attempts to diminish global solidarity, to undermine the coalition of our allies.

Ukraine’s “Miracle”

Zelenskiy and his wife Olena added in a message on social media:

The Ukrainian New Year is not only a time for greetings, but also for action. Not only for wishes, but also for doing everything possible to make them come true.

We, the Ukrainians, understand better than anybody else that a better future does not come by itself, but only because we defend each of our tomorrows.

Our New Year will be what we make it. The New Year’s miracle, but also the year-round miracle, is all of you: dedicated, responsible, caring, and effective.